The aircraft landing gear is the undercarriage of an aircraft. It is also known as the spacecraft which is deployed during take-off and landing. The technology was formerly known as alighting gear. The landing gear typically supports the aircraft when it is not flying. Some of the most commonly used landing gears are wheeled in nature. However, the landing gear for an aircraft differs with the climatic conditions to be endured. Skids or floats are also used as landing gear for operations over snow or water.
Other experimental means have also been deployed to save weight associated with the landing gear. For instance, a no landing gear configuration can be employed by making use of a catapult cradle and a flexible landing deck. Another substitute for a landing deck is an air cushion. This configuration can be used over a wide range of ground obstacles including snow and ice. Runway loading is another key landing gear that is used to reduce runway loading.
The aircraft landing gear market registered a revenue worth roughly USD 10 Billion in the year 2020. The market is expected to grow with a CAGR of 7% during the forecast period. The aircraft landing gear is divided into three key segments, i.e. By End-User, By Type, and By Region. The end-user segment comprises OEM and aftermarket-based sales. This segment helps evaluate the overall spending incurred by OEMs and the aftermarket sales associated with an aircraft. The type segment is further categorized into Fixed Wing and Rotary Wing aircraft. While the regional segment provides a competitive mapping across North America, Europe, APAC, the Middle East, and the RoW.
The need for lightweight aircraft is one of the key drivers within this market. Aircraft manufacturing OEMs are presently attempting to improve future network flexibility. OEMs are focused on developing aircraft with maximum capacity and improved fuel efficiency. As the weight of the aircraft and the landing gear reduces, the propulsion required to power the same also decreases. Therefore, the fuel economy associated with the design of the aircraft increases which in turn reduces the carbon footprint.
In terms of design, one of the configurations which are expected to boost the market growth is the VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing). The introduction of this technology eliminates the requirement of a runway to perform take-off and landing operations. Another key technology that is presently introduced within the market is the Electro Hydrostatic Actuation System. The technology is presently being developed by Clean Sky’s Advanced Landing. This technology is expected to optimize the weight associated with the landing gear by providing a retractable, and localized solution to the same. It is expected to consume lesser power and generate less heat as well as noise.
The introduction of new materials within the aerospace sector is another factor that is anticipated to steadfast the growth associated with the aircraft landing gear vertical. For instance, the company Safran has pioneered in carbon breaks which reduces both the weight of the aircraft and the emissions associated with the same. Other technologies which have gained rapid momentum within this market include electric breaks. The use of this technology is expected to help enhance the service monitoring of the landing gear for an aircraft.
OEMs are presently trying to devise alternatives to bulky hydraulic-based landing systems. The electric landing gear is a popular choice that is anticipated to steadfast the market growth for this segment. The company Safran is also working on an electric taxing program. The introduction of the same is expected to reduce fuel costs by roughly 4%. Moreover, as per studies, a lighter landing gear ensures on-time take-off as well as departure.
Landing gears are specialized equipment. Thus the design of this technology is complex and highly time-intensive. Materials like high-strength steel, titanium, and aluminum alloys are majorly used for the fabrication of the same. Given the niche nature of the product, the material grades procured are to be of a high standard. Additionally, landing gears account for a critical component of the aircraft. Thus, the design of this equipment is followed by several tests and efficiency checks before the launch of the same.
The high quality and the capital-intensive nature of this market raises the barriers for entry of the same. The aircraft landing gear vertical is highly competitive. However, the relative cost competitiveness of the products is low given the nature of the application. Since landing gears are a critical aircraft component, several safety procedures are also to be incorporated in the design and assimilation stage.
Conclusively, growth in demand for aircraft carriers globally is expected to steadfast the growth associated with the landing gears market. The demand for commercial aircraft is expected to rebound by the year 2025 according to key aircraft manufacturing OEMs like Boeing and Airbus, post the effects of the pandemic.