The aerospace industry's product line is broad because its primary products, flight vehicles, require up to millions of individual parts. In addition, many support systems are needed to operate and maintain the vehicles. In terms of sales, military aircraft have the largest market share, followed by space systems, civil aircraft, and missiles.
Aerospace Industry Subsectors
The aerospace industry includes many subsectors that contribute to the industry's growth.
For example, companies in the commercial space subsector design, manufacture, and launch advanced rockets and spacecraft. These companies are expected to see revenue growth as interest and spending increases in everything from space tourism, space exploration, improved satellite communications, and laboratories in space. SpaceX, Boeing, and Virgin Galactic are a few of the companies competing in the commercial space subsector.
Another aerospace industry subsector is unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly referred to as drones. A UAS does not have a pilot on board but is instead piloted autonomously or remotely. While drones are primarily used for military, research, and recreational uses, the main growth segment for UAS might come from drone delivery systems implemented by retail giants such as Amazon and Walmart.
Airport infrastructure and aviation security is another aerospace subsector that continues to grow both in the United States and globally. Companies in this subsector focus on protecting the airline industry from terrorism threats, along with the identification and containment of cybersecurity threats.
Alternative aviation fuel is an aerospace industry subsector that researches and develops alternatives fuels. Companies in this subsector look to develop alternatives that are environmentally sustainable and protect the airline industry from the price volatility of traditional jet fuel.