With its latest partnership agreement, Boeing could have a stake in the Aerosud/Paramount Advanced High Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft effort. (AHRLAC)
FARNBOROUGH, ENGLAND — In what is the latest move by Boeing to collaborate with a company offering knowledge of an untapped market, the aerospace giant has signed an agreement with The Paramount Group of South Africa.
Under the memorandum of collaboration, the two companies will work to “jointly develop defense and security opportunities in key international markets,” a Boeing statement said. The same statement calls the Paramount Group “Africa’s largest privately-owned defense and aerospace business.”
“Africa is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for aerospace and defense equipment, and we are very pleased to be partnering with Boeing to combine our various capabilities to better serve our customers in Africa and elsewhere,” Ivor Ichikowitz, Paramount Group chairman, was quoted as saying in the statement.
The companies announced the agreement at the Farnborough International Airshow here.
At first glance, it could appear to be an odd pairing. Boeing is the second largest defense company in the world. The Paramount Group isn’t in the Defense News Top 100 listing.
But the agreement follows a roadmap Boeing has been quietly moving along for the last few years of finding collaborations with smaller producers that can target specific markets and help supplement the American giant’s number of aging defense products.
The deal to work with Saab to design a new aircraft for the US Air Force’s T-X trainer competition was the largest move, but the company has also teamed with Embraer to help market the Brazilian company’s KC-390 transport and, in 2009, with Austrian UAV manufacturer Schiebel.
With this deal, Boeing suddenly has a potential stake in the joint Aerosud/Paramount AHRLAC (Advanced High Performance Surveillance and Reconnaissance Aircraft) program, a multimission ISR/light strike platform that could go after the same market as Textron’s Scorpion jet – but with first-hand knowledge of the African market.
The choice of companies represent something of a “large fish in a small pond” approach for Boeing, but they all represent a way for Boeing to work its way into previously untapped markets.
Speaking last month, Chris Chadwick, the head of Boeing’s defense arm, called global partnerships “the new normal.”
“I think more and more, as we move forward you’re going to see these partnerships and you’re going to see the right joint ventures,” Chadwick said. ■