Military, rotorcraft insulate aviation, avionics from trying economy

WILSONVILLE, Ore., 14 July 2009. "Military and rotorcraft market segments are going to insulate the aircraft production industry," explained Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at Teal Group Corp., during his talk, "Coping with the Downturn: Aviation Markets and Companies Enter Uncharted Territory," at the Mentor Graphics Integrated Electrical Solutions Forum (IESF) 2009. Mentor Graphics, located in Wilsonville, Ore., designs and develops electronic design automation tools.

By Courtney E. Howard

WILSONVILLE, Ore., 14 July 2009. "Military and rotorcraft market segments are going to insulate the aircraft production industry," explained Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at Teal Group Corp. in Fairfax, Va., during his talk, "Coping with the Downturn: Aviation Markets and Companies Enter Uncharted Territory," at the Mentor Graphics Integrated Electrical Solutions Forum (IESF) 2009. Mentor Graphics, located in Wilsonville, Ore., provides electronic design automation tools to the mil-aero and other industries to enable companies to develop better electronic products faster and more cost-effectively.

IESF 2009 marked Mentor Graphics' eighth annual event held this past May in Seattle. The event attracted more than 100 attendees from various military and aerospace organizations, OEMs, and suppliers, including The Boeing Company, Saab Bofors Dynamics AB, Bell Helicopter, and more.

The free educational forum covered such topics as electrical systems design, simulation and analysis, wire harness engineering, printed circuit board design, and embedded distributed systems.

The military aviation market is growing, while the business jets segment is falling, continued Aboulafia. "It is a healthy industry, but business jet is in desperate shape, and very light jets are a waste of time," he added.

Military and rotorcraft, however, are bright spots in a bleak economy. "The DOD (U.S. Department of Defense) total procurement grew to $146 billion from $50 billion eight years earlier," Aboulafia said. "R&D (research and development) grew with procurement, but little went into platforms. The F-35 is where an enormous amount of the action is; the rotorcraft market in great shape with great aftermarket, so there are no threats to that market whatsoever.

"Aviation is not falling as an industry," thanks in part to continued military and rotorcraft growth, explained. Aboulafia. "Defense budgets look good, although we are moving to a post-growth era."

Mentor Graphics executives have already scheduled another free forum, this time in October in Dallas, Texas.

For more information, visit Mentor Graphics online at www.mentor.com, and view the company's event calendar online at http://www.mentor.com/events/.

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