Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 February 2020

Idex 2017: South African defence firm targets region with military variant of light aircraft

The Mwari is focused on the Middle East region and can do the job of BAE Systems’ Hawk aircraft and the job of a light helicopter at lower operating and acquisition costs.
Above, Paramount Group’s Mwari, a military variant of its advanced high performance light aircraft. Courtesy Boeing
Above, Paramount Group’s Mwari, a military variant of its advanced high performance light aircraft. Courtesy Boeing

Paramount Group, a privately owned South African defence company with more than US$1 billion in annual sales, is planning to boost the share of its sales to the Middle East market by 50 per cent in the next two years from 30 per cent through new products and services.

Paramount hopes to reach its target through the sale of its Mwari, a military variant of its advanced high-performance light aircraft, on display at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex), said Ivor Ichikowitz, executive chairman of Paramount in a interview. It also plans to boost sales of its 8x8 armoured vehicles to the Middle East, its biggest market.

The Mwari is focused on the Middle East region and can do the job of BAE Systems’ Hawk aircraft and the job of a light helicopter at lower operating and acquisition costs, said Mr Ichikowitz. The company is currently in negotiators with a number of countries in the region to sell the Mwari and it expects orders over the next 12 months.

“We are very much focused on the introduction on new products and services,” said Mr Ichikowitz. “What we are finding even though defence budgets may be growing, governments are looking to use their money much more effectively.”

Boeing and Paramount are cooperating on an advanced mission system for the Mwari, following a 2014 agreement. Boeing will develop its own integrated mission system for the aircraft. “We see a need of upgrade and modernisation capability in eastern Europe and central Asia,” said Mr Ichikowitz.

Paramount is also focused on establishing joint ventures in the Middle East as part of transferring technology and expertise. It already has a production-sharing agreement in Jordan and other partnerships in the region.

Paramount is in talks with countries in the Mena region to open a factory in the region, including the UAE.

“We believe the UAE is an ideal environment of production collaboration,” Mr Ichikowitz said. “We already are involved in collaboration in the UAE, which we hope in the future will lead to the establishment of significant industrial activity.”

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dalsaadi@thenational.ae

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Updated: February 18, 2017 04:00 AM

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