In a nutshell, landing gear in an aircraft provides suspension and movement during take-off, landing and taxi. Sudden shock of landing impact is absorbed by landing gear as it is designed for that purpose. It is considered one of the crucial component of an aircraft, they are controlled by pneumatic and hydraulic systems and they have a specified service life. For Example, the average life of a landing gear is 5 years and they will go for replacement after the same time period. The key market players are benefitted from these replacements and overhauls. The market will witness high growth rate in the future period. In terms of geography, the most significant providers of helicopter landing gear is North America.
Major factors driving the growth of the market
To strengthen their defense capabilities many countries are increasing their investment in military aircraft, which in turn fuels the growth of the market. There is an increase in the adoption of UAVs in military operations, which is anticipated to increase the growth of the market. Landing gear components such as wheels, actuation systems, and brakes will undergo wear and tear and it needs maintenance operations a prescribed intervals. The MRO receives more revenue from these replacements. In addition, to modernize aircraft fleets the national defense budget is increased, and replacement of conventional landing gear with advanced gear system is expected to increase the market growth further.
Trends influencing the growth of the market
In an aircraft, the aircraft landing gear is a heavily loaded structure. Out of the total weight of the aircraft, 3% to 6 % weighs the aircraft’s landing gear. The companies are ready to manufacture lighter and robust landing gear without removing its functions, performance, maintenance, operations, and safety requirements. By using material of fracture toughness, fatigue properties, and higher strength, this is made possible. These materials include corrosion-resistant steel, high- strength aluminium alloys, ultra-high-strength alloy steels, titanium alloys, and composites. The reason behind the use of composite materials in aircraft and landing gear is that it provides stiffness properties and super specific strength. For example, carbon composite disc brakes provide longer life, lower maintenance, and reduced weight. The cost of manufacturing composite is very high but presently it has been overcome using different production techniques. These factors fuel the growth of the market in the forthcoming years.
Focussing on intelligent fleet building that provide future network flexibility, improving efficiency and sustainability, and maximizing capability while minimizing risk. In aircraft today, the landing gear is retracted and extended using power drawn from complex, centralized and heavy hydraulic systems that also power aircraft flight control services. Efficiency is increased using new technologies and materials. Lighter composites and titanium materials developments are made to reduce the weight of the landing structures. For example, Safran made the introduction of carbon brakes that have helped to reduce weight of the aircraft and minimize its emissions. Technologies and electric brakes are also adopted to monitor the tear and wear of landing gear to further rise the efficiency and enhance monitoring of landing gear system. Electrically integrated system is developed to replace the bulky, conventional hydraulic systems to increase the efficiency and reduce the weight. Safran is currently working on the electric taxiing program which can incorporated directly into the next generation aircraft. This in turn reduces the fuel costs, decrease emission and noise and increase on-time take-offs. Challenges are faced by OEMs and MRO organization during the process of manufacturing. Aircraft landing gear is one of the critical component of the aircraft. Manufacturing and designing of landing gear go through lot of challenges. This must be done during regulatory and safety requirements. Landing gear manufacturing involves machined components from titanium, aluminium alloys, and high-strength steels. The heat treatment should be done precise, after that, final matching and painting should be intricate and precise.
The Southwest Research Institute (Texas) has awarded a contract worth USD 300 million from the US air force to sustain the aircraft landing gear system. This 20-year IDIQ (Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite quantity) contract award support the landing gear integrity of the Air Force. Safran landing system has signed an agreement with Bell Textron. It will provide the landing gear system for the V-280 Valor aircraft. Bells’ V-280 Valor aircraft is the next generation aircraft proposed for the U.S army’s FLRAA (Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft) program.