WASHINGTON ― Following the completion of the Paramount Group’s new aerospace factory at the Wonderboom International Airport Complex, the major player in South Africa’s defense industry is preparing to ramp up production of its Mwari light-attack aircraft.
Paramount’s acquisition of high-end manufacturing technology and appointment of new employees means very little manufacturing will need to be outsourced, according to a news release. The company says this will improve efficiency by simplifying manufacturing logistics.
This indigenous manufacturing capability is atypical for the company, which is known for pushing for production facilities in customer countries. For example, Paramount established factories in Kazakhstan and Jordan to produce heavily and lightly armored vehicles.
The Mwari is the result of a partnership between Paramount and Boeing that was struck in 2016. It combines Paramount’s advanced, high-performance reconnaissance light aircraft with Boeing’s mission systems and advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance payloads.
The platform carries an interchangeable multimission pod system, or IMPS, under the cockpit, which allows a single plane to perform multiple roles. Depending on the requirements of a mission, the IMPS can be loaded out with systems for electronic intelligence, signals and communication intelligence; semi-active radar; forward-looking infrared radiometer; and cargo.
Taken from the Shona language, the word Mwari means “all-seeing and all-knowing being.“
Ivor Ichikowitz, the founder and CEO of Paramount, believes the Mwari could be a real game-changer for the aerospace industry.
“We have created a truly-intelligent ‘SMART’ platform. We have not simply created an armed variant of a civilian crop-duster, but produced an aircraft designed for ISR and [close-air support] missions in every millimeter of its design,” Ichikowitz said in a statement. “It is designed for purpose — specifically for the kind of remote, hybrid ISR and CAS missions that the world’s air forces are increasingly being called upon to perform.”
In 2016, Ichikowitz hinted there was high interest for the Mwari from clients in the Middle East, the United States and some African countries.