While the global recession of the last two years has cut into sales of commercial aircraft, sales of U.S. military aircraft increased this year, by 8 percent, to $62 billion. U.S. commercial aircraft sales amounted to $152 billion. American manufacturers also sold 11 percent more missiles ($14.8 billion).
While the U.S. is facing growing competition in commercial aircraft manufacturing, America is still the largest manufacturer and exporter of military aircraft. And that is not under any immediate threat. F-16s (both new and refurbished) and their replacement (the F-35) appear ready to dominate the market for the next decade.
The one radical new element are UAVs, especially the larger ones, and the prospect of jet propelled UAVs cutting into manned military aircraft sales. In the last six years, sales of UAVs have increased more than six times. Just as sales are currently fed by the need to replace aging Cold War era fleets, the introduction of cheaper and more capable UAVs, could touch off another wave of purchases a decade from now.