in Defence / General Aviation

Paramount's AHRLAC takes to the skies

Posted 13 August 2014 · Add Comment

Today Paramount Group's Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft (AHRLAC), took to the skies at Wonderboom airport, Pretoria, to make its public debut.

The aircraft addresses a key industry need by performing the combined tasks that previously required four separately configured planes. It integrates designs from attack helicopters, surveillance platforms and reconnaissance aircraft with ability to carry surveillance, weapons, radar and electronic warfare systems. This has brought advanced operational solutions, historically requiring more costly aircraft or complex unmanned aerial surveillance systems.

Paramount Group Executive Chairperson, Ivor Ichikowitz, said: “AHRLAC is a home grown, world class capability that will enable developing countries and advanced nations to strengthen and diversify their security infrastructure. It offers the global industry a new, very cost effective and multi-role solution that will change the way global air forces procure and structure their air fleets. AHRLAC is a solution shaped for today’s modern threats like insurgencies, piracy, poaching and terrorism.”

AHRLAC is a ground-breaking example of what Africa is capable of producing and will be a key solution to bolster Africa’s capability to deal with its security issues. However, AHRLAC is not only a solution for Africa but for defence forces around the world, whether from developing countries or from nations with advanced and sophisticated defence capabilities.

Ichikowitz adds: “The emergence of Africa as an increasingly important global economic power brings with it the expectation on the world stage that Africa must itself play a greater role in avoiding and controlling the perpetuation of violence and conflict on the continent. The solution is to build African capabilities to solve these African challenges. What is often not recognised is that the African defence and aerospace industry is more than up to that challenge. Leading-edge defence solutions like AHRLAC presents African states with the opportunity to build up their own intelligence, militaries and national police to combat the continent’s insurgents and extremists.”

The development and production of AHRLAC is expected to provide a significant job and skills boost to the African aerospace industry as many local subcontractors will be involved in equipping the aircraft with a range of systems. Key local suppliers will include: Paramount Advanced Technologies, CSIR and Denel. Key global suppliers include Pratt and Whitney, Cobham and Zeiss. AHRLAC has been specifically designed for both civilian and military tasking, and features a variety of configurations thanks to its innovative pod system design. These include patrol and reconnaissance with typical missions encompassing intelligence gathering and close air support. The aircraft can also be configured for training, cargo and light attack capabilities. This enables the aircraft for multi-role use which include disaster management, internal security, border control, maritime patrol and environmental protection. AHRLAC also has the ability to carry a comprehensive weapons suite for specific mission applications.

The aircraft was designed and built by over 60 engineers and technicians. One of the most innovative aspects of the construction phase is that 98% of all 6 000 parts of the aircraft were designed and produced locally by the engineering team. Since the launch of the project in September 2011 the team spent 315,000 labour hours completing detailed designs and manufacturing the first prototype.

Dr Paul Potgieter, CEO AHRLAC Holdings said: “Every single part of the aircraft was pre-designed on a computer which allowed it to have a jigless construction. This means that every part fits together, much like a Meccano set, which saves vast amounts of money and time – especially when exporting globally.

“The jigless manufacture was made possible by parts being pre-drilled and machine made, allowing for accuracy, reduced need for hand skills and therefore less time to build. We have made all the tools for production for all sheet metal pressings and composite parts so it enables us to hit production much quicker than other aircraft."

This ground-breaking project is currently undergoing a rigorous flight testing programme which will prove flight characteristics and test the aircraft’s performance. “AHRLAC is creating the next generation of engineers on the continent, and is an excellent reflection of the capabilities of the African engineering fraternity. There are a number of skills challenges in South Africa and beyond our borders, but the incredible progress made by local engineers has put them at the forefront of global aerospace innovation. Their joint expertise has turned them into pathfinders, who are proudly setting new milestones, through continuous innovation that we can export to the world,” concludes Ichikowitz.

 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

First ever purpose-built regional freighter takes flight

ATR has announced the successful first flight of its new purpose-built regional freighter aircraft.

ATNS launches virtual training

Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) SOC is piloting virtual training through its award-winning and globally acclaimed Aviation Training Academy.

Morocco begins to rethink its future

Before the Covid-19 outbreak, the Moroccan aeronautical and space industry had recorded a growth of more than 20% over the last two years. Now the Group of Moroccan Aeronautics and Space Industries (GIMAS) has launched a debate on the

RwandAir to restart its flights to and from London and Brussels

RwandAir is to resume flights to and from London and Brussels to Kigali from 3rd October 2020, as it reinstates its passenger network.

Emirates restarts flights to Luanda

Emirates' African network will expand to 15 destinations with the restart of Luanda, Angola from 1 October.

Qatar Airways increases more African services

Qatar Airways is to resume services to Entebbe, Seychelles, and Windhoek, as well as many more global destinations.

AMAC SK2907290121
See us at
SIAA2020 BT1020Aviation MENA 2021Aviation Africa 2021