WASHINGTON — A South African company has sold nine short-takeoff-and-landing Mwari aircraft to multiple air forces, the company announced Wednesday during the Africa Aerospace and Defence Expo.
“Mwari addresses a key global security requirement from air forces around the world, of any size, for advanced ISR and precision strike capabilities,” the company said in a news release. “It integrates design concepts from helicopters, surveillance platforms and reconnaissance aircraft with the ability to carry multiple systems, such as surveillance radar and electro optic sensor systems.”
Sam Amsterdam, a spokesperson for Paramount Group, would not provide contract values nor identify the customers for the Mwari, but did tell Defense News that one is an African air force.
Paramount Group also told Defense News it has partnered with German company Hensoldt to equip the Mwari with the Argos II airborne observation system. The technology provides detection and target identification capabilities to help with analysis by command-and-control units, the South African firm said.
The aircraft is fitted with an interchangeable mission systems bay that provides numerous “sensor and payload options” that can be swapped out, the company said in the release.
“Mwari is a game changer for Air Forces,” said Ivor Ichikowitz, the founder of Paramount Group. “It’s purposefully designed for the kind of asymmetrical warfare that modern military forces across the world are today being asked to conduct. The aircraft has a critical role to play in the connected battlefield, providing forces on the ground and in the air with a force multiplier competitive advantage.”
The Mwari, which is manufactured near Pretoria, South Africa, has a flight ceiling of 31,000 feet, can travel up to 250 knots (288 mph) and and has a range of 550 nautical miles. The aircraft can also fly for up to 6.5 hours, the company said.
Ichikowitz highlighted the announcement as an accomplishment for the defense industry in Africa — and the promising future to manufacture and develop more technologies on the continent.
“Our announcement here at AAD 2022 is not only a breakthrough in the aerospace arena, it also serves as a milestone in our continent striving for greater high-skills training and technology-driven employment opportunities,” Ichikowitz said. “A strong defence industrial complex has been proven time and again to bolster sustainable economic growth.”
Zamone “Z” Perez is a rapid response reporter and podcast producer at Defense News and Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched international ethics and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.