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9 décembre 2015 3 09 /12 /décembre /2015 17:45
Le nouveau véhicule kazakh sera basé sur ce Marauder sud-africain

Le nouveau véhicule kazakh sera basé sur ce Marauder sud-africain

 

9 décembre, 2015 Christina Mackenzie (FOB)

 

Jetant notre filet un peu plus loin que d’habitude pour aller à la pêche aux informations et vous en rapporter d’au-delà des frontières de l’Europe, nous avons découvert que Paramount Group, la plus grande entreprise privée de défense et d’aérospatiale d’Afrique, a récemment démarré la production de l’Arlan, une variante de son véhicule de combat blindé Marauder, dans une usine dernier cri ouverte il y a quelques jours au Kazakhstan.

 

D’après le groupe sud-africain, basé à Johannesburg et fondé en 1994, cette nouvelle fabrique est le fruit d’une joint venture valorisée à 62.5 millions d’euros, Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering (KPE), formée l’an passé avec Kazakhstan Engineering Distribution.

 

Cette nouvelle unité de production de véhicules blindés située dans la zone de libre échange de Zhana Kala, dans la capitale kazakhe Astana, peut produire plus de 200 véhicules blindés par an, créant de facto près de 150 emplois qualifiés.

 

KPE est la première usine de véhicules blindés de cette république d’Asie centrale et la première usine défense présentant de telles capacités de production dans la région. L’Arlan a été conçu et développé pour résister à la neige et aux conditions hivernales rudes en collaboration avec l’armée kazakhe, et ses prototypes ont subi des tests rigoureux afin de répondre aux besoins opérationnels spécifiques des militaires kazakhs.

 

Pour marquer le lancement de production dans cette usine de 15 000 m2, elle a reçu la visite le 30 novembre dernier du président de la République du Kazakhstan, Noursoultan Nazarbaïev, qui était accompagné par son ministre de la défense, Imangali Tasmagambetov, le directeur exécutif de Paramount, Ivor Ichikowitz, et le président de Kazakhstan Engineering, Yerlan Idrissov.

 

« L’usine de KPE est conçue pour la production complète de bout en bout et la fabrication locale de produits finis. À travers cet investissement, nous allons activement créer un savoir-faire local en formant de jeunes ingénieurs à la conception de véhicules blindés et à d’autres compétences, » a expliqué Idrissov.

 

L’usine emploie actuellement 70 personnes mais entend atteindre 120 employés dans les mois à venir. « Notre intention est que l’usine puisse fournir les marchés locaux et régionaux », a souligné Idrissov.

 

L’industrie de défense sud-africaine espère sortir du marasme dans lequel elle se trouve aujourd’hui grâce à d’autres projets de ce genre. Ivor Ichikowitz précise que l’un des plus grands défis de l’industrie de défense sud-africaine vient de la baisse de commandes de son gouvernement dont le budget de défense rétrécit drastiquement, conduisant à une perte alarmante de compétences. « Il est extrêmement important, non seulement pour nous mais aussi pour Denel et d’autres entreprises de défense, de trouver des marchés à l’export afin que nous puissions développer notre clientèle et augmenter le nombre d’emplois que nous créons, » explique-t-il.

 

Et Ichikowitz d’ajouter que « les projets de cette nature sont très important pour nous parce que si nous pouvons gagner des marchés, enregistrer des commandes, cela contribue à notre capacité à créer de nouveaux emplois… [et] conduira l’industrie de défense d’Afrique du Sud à un tout autre niveau. »

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24 juillet 2015 5 24 /07 /juillet /2015 07:45
An artists concept of the Nautic 9 metre boarding boat

An artists concept of the Nautic 9 metre boarding boat

 

22 July 2015 by defenceWeb

 

Paramount Group company Nautic Africa is in the process of custom-developing five boarding craft for the South African Navy to meet its Project Carol requirements. The vessels will be delivered by December.

 

The craft are currently under development at Nautic Africa’s Cape Town facilities. Project Manager Pieter Heyneman said that, “Nautic always aims to raise the bar, and this project will be no different.” He added that the design brief for Project Carol required a state-of-the-art, fully-equipped, composite craft capable of providing superior performance under demanding conditions.

 

The result is a 9 metre epoxy infused vessel capable of reaching speeds of 38 knots via twin Volvo D4-260 diesel sterndrives. Capable of carrying 10 crew members, the mid-engined arrangement will offer in-house developed shock mitigating seating to operational crew, whilst the boarding party is accommodated aft, Nautic said.

 

Designed to be deployed from the Navy’s frigates, the solid fendered, self-righting capable boarding craft make provision for interfacing via a single-point lifting arrangement, customized to fit the pre-existing CSIR adapted Vest Davit launching cranes.

 

In addition, the vessels will be equipped with a suite of equipment including military specification tactical communications, navigation and tracking systems, touch screen glass cockpit instrumentation, keyless starting, automatic fire suppression, noise cancelling intercom, a drop-in ammunition locker, a customized gun mount pintle interface as well as a pre-heating umbilical cord system and more.

 

“The multi-purpose boarding craft will be deployed to perform safety and security functions, including boarding operations, intelligence support and rescue missions,” said James Fisher, CEO of Nautic Africa.

 

Project Carol, which has been in existence for several years, aims to procure small boats less than 60 metres in length for the SA Navy in the form of boarding boats, diving boats, riverine patrol boats, ship sea boats, ferries, sailing dinghies, an ocean racing yacht and associated trailers.

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3 mars 2015 2 03 /03 /mars /2015 17:30
The Mbombe 6x6 armored vehicle to be assembled in Jordan for its military. Photo: Paramount Group

The Mbombe 6x6 armored vehicle to be assembled in Jordan for its military. Photo: Paramount Group


ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 26 (UPI)

 

Jordan has become the first customer for the Mbombe 6x6 armored infantry combat vehicle from South Africa's Paramount Group.

The initial 50 vehicles for the Jordanian armed forces will be assembled in Jordan by KADDB, or the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau, which will also produce some components for it.

Additional details of the deal, including its monetary value, were not disclosed.


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11 décembre 2014 4 11 /12 /décembre /2014 08:45
AHRLAC logs 50 incident-free flying hours

 

09 December 2014 by defenceWeb

 

AHRLAC, the first military manned fixed wing aircraft fully designed, tested and developed in South Africa, has completed 50 hours of incident-free test flying from Wonderboom Airport.

 

The Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft is another offering for the South African and African defence and security sectors from the Paramount Group, the largest privately owned defence and aerospace company on the continent.

 

The 50 hour milestone was reached with 55 flights since July at the airport north of Pretoria. The flight test programme is expanding the aircraft’s flight envelope in key performance areas including handling, airframe systems, centre of gravity, performance ranges and rough field capabilities.

 

Commenting on the achievement Paramount chief executive Ivor Ichikowitz said: “This is a proud moment for Paramount and the AHRLAC team of engineers and technicians who have invested so much of their creativity, energy and ‘can-do’ mentality to develop this aircraft. It is also a proud moment for South Africa and the rest of the African continent to showcase our aerospace capability through innovative design, technologies and manufacturing processes”.

 

Test flight team leader Blokkies Joubert said AHRLAC had proven itself to be reliable with a rugged, solid feel.

 

“The aircraft’s performance has matched all our initial predictions closely and its systems have performed as they should. AHRLAC has shown itself to be predictable, intuitive and easy to fly, a true testament to the aerodynamic work done in the early stages of development. Control inputs in flight are light and direct, with a very accurate and quick response,” Joubert said.

 

The aircraft addresses a key industry need by performing the combined tasks that previously required four separately configured aircraft. It integrates designs from surveillance platforms and reconnaissance aircraft with the 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.

 

“Operationally, the aircraft is reliable and easy to fly and maintain. AHRLAC’s predictable nature, remarkable exterior view and the ease with which it responds are outstanding features. Every member of the development team believes AHRLAC is the best answer to the problems it was designed to solve. The first 50 flight hours thus far have reinforced this,” Joubert added.

 

Ichikowitz believes 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. AHRLAC, he said, 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.

 

The aircraft was designed and built by a team of 60 engineers and technicians. One of the most innovative aspects of the construction phase is that 98% of all 6 000 parts of the airframe 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.

 

“AHRLAC is creating the next generation of engineers on the continent and is an excellent reflection of the capabilities of African engineers. There are a number of skills challenges in South Africa and beyond our borders but the 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,” Ichikowitz said.

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13 août 2014 3 13 /08 /août /2014 16:45
The AHRLAC taking off from Wonderboom airport photo Guy_Martin

The AHRLAC taking off from Wonderboom airport photo Guy_Martin

 

13 August 2014 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb

 

The first Paramount Group Advanced High-performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft (AHRLAC) prototype has performed its maiden flight and has embarked on a rigorous flight testing programme.

 

The Experimental Demonstrator (XDM) prototype’s first flight to the public took place this morning at Wonderboom airport outside Pretoria, although the aircraft took to the skies for the first time on 26 July. The aircraft was piloted by test pilot ‘Blokkies’ Joubert on its maiden flight, who flew the aircraft for around 35 minutes. He reached an altitude of 9 000 feet and a speed of around 120 knots as he evaluated the aircraft’s handling abilities. So far, the XDM aircraft has flown seven hours.

 

Testing has gone well, with no systems failures so far. The first prototype will probably fly 100-200 hours before Paramount and prime contractor Aerosud are satisfied with initial testing. During test flights a Cessna Caravan has been used as a chase plane, but future test flights will use a faster Pilatus PC-12.

 

Construction of the second prototype (Advanced Demonstrator - ADM) is currently underway, and this will be used to test weapons and sensors, mission equipment and other hardware as the first prototype is being used mainly for handling tests. The ADM model will be finished around the end of this year and undergo flight testing from the second quarter of next year, according to programme leader Paul Potgieter Junior.

 

Aircraft could be delivered from the end of next year. Initially production will probably stand at four to eight in the first year then three to five a month after that as production ramps up. Production will take place at a new dedicated factory. Paramount is in advanced discussions with a number of potential customers and has started marketing the aircraft.

 

“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,” Ichikowitz said.

 

Paramount said the aircraft can perform tasks previously carried out by four separately configured aircraft, as it integrates designs from attack helicopters, surveillance platforms and reconnaissance aircraft with the ability to carry surveillance, weapons, radar and electronic warfare systems.

 

AHRLAC has been designed for both civilian and military missions and can be configured for a variety of roles due to its innovative interchangeable mission pod. Roles include patrol and reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, close air support, training, cargo and light attack. “This enables the aircraft for multi-role uses which include disaster management, internal security, border control, maritime patrol and environmental protection,” Paramount said.

 

Aerosud Managing Director Dr Paul Potgieter said the AHRlAC was designed as a low cost homeland security solution. “To compete with the best in the world we had to apply the very latest technology to find that competitive edge, starting with using the very latest digital design and manufacturing techniques.” Potgieter said he believed the AHRLAC is the most detailed CATIA design ever undertaken in this category, with every part, down to the rivets and screws, being designed digitally. This resulted in the aircraft being built without jigs, saving time and cost.

 

Potgieter told journalists during a briefing at Wonderboom that four features of the AHRLAC stand out. The pusher propeller configuration allows for an unobstructed forward view, for pilots, sensors and weapons, and also allows for jet-like pilot training, something that has attracted a lot of interest. Other highlights include the interchangeable payload pod, the six hardpoints on the wings and the rugged landing gear that allows for operation on unprepared airstrips.

 

The AHRLAC is being developed by Paramount with Aerosud as the prime contractor, but the project also involves local and international suppliers. Global suppliers include Pratt & Whitney (PT6 engine), Cobham (antennae/communications) and Zeiss (electro-optical equipment. Local suppliers will include Paramount Advanced Technologies, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and Denel (which will supply weapons like the Mokopa missile, amongst other items).

 

During a post-flight media briefing, Ichikowitz said the AHRLAC reinvented the way aircraft are developed and produced, not just in South Africa but around the world. “This is without doubt a truly historic moment in the South African aerospace and aviation industry. What we have witnessed today has relevance for the whole country and the continent.”

 

Ichikowitz said that the aerospace and defence industries are often a prime driver of economic growth and the innovation that comes with it and that the South African defence industry has long been an innovator. “This project shows this industry is still alive and well. AHRLAC is exciting but what is going to happen around ARHLAC is very exciting. It marks the rebirth of a dormant industry – that is what is exciting for me…One of the challenges we have on this continent is we still suffer from self-doubt – this project proves we can build things that have been designed in Africa for African conditions.”

 

“Watch this space,” Ichikowitz told journalists. “This is just the beginning as more can be expected from AHRLAC, Paramount and South Africa.”

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6 août 2014 3 06 /08 /août /2014 19:45
Ichikowitz calls on Obama to give Africa the chance to defend itself

 

06 August 2014 by defenceWeb

 

While nearly 50 African heads of state convene in Washington DC, one of Africa’s biggest defence contractors is making a pitch to let Africa have more advanced defence and security equipment and training.

 

This week, at the kickoff of the first US-Africa Leaders Summit, President Obama is hearing from young people, women, civil society leaders, change agents, stakeholders, heads of state - and South Africa’s Paramount Group.

 

For Ivor Ichikowitz, Executive Chairman of aerospace and defence company Paramount Group, the message is simple: Give Africa a chance to defend itself. He says he is attending the summit in Washington to make the case to the Obama administration that African countries should be encouraged to build up their own intelligence services, militaries, and national police to combat the continent’s rogues, insurgents, and fanatics.

 

The West, according to the South African defence entrepreneur, discourages governments from creating their own security infrastructures. And that’s a problem, in the age of Boko Haram and al Shabaab, he said. “The message from the U.S. and other countries is: ‘We will give you aid if you don’t use budgets to create armies and intelligence services.’”

 

To illustrate this point, Ichikowitz talks about a recent conversation he had with an African head of state that is currently involved in resisting insurgencies. “I have met with the president and he told me that he has no capacity to be able to afford the solutions they require because of limitations imposed by the international community on how they use their budget,” Ichikowitz said.

 

According to Ichikowitz, the International Monetary Fund told the head of state that it could not use money provided by the fund for its budget for advanced military equipment. “As a result, the government involved is forced to be reliant on the charity of Western powers, they are forced to be reliant on third parties to resolve a domestic problem,” he said.

 

Ichikowitz acknowledged in the interview that the African continent is awash in weapons, particularly small arms. “The Cold War resulted in the introduction of millions of small arms into the continent over the years,” he said. “A lot of this equipment has fallen into the hands of thugs, of fundamentalist organizations. As a result there is a formidable threat to almost every single African democracy. Unfortunately, the West has not necessarily given African governments the capability to create sophisticated, world-class capabilities to counter these threats.”

 

It’s also worth noting that the United States military has long-standing partnerships with many African militaries. But those partnerships often do not allow these states to acquire advanced technologies.

 

This is where Paramount believes it can step in, if given the chance. It makes a full range of armoured vehicles and also produces surveillance drones with the kind of sensors that can sniff out wireless communications from a discreet geographic area. Paramount also upgrades the electronics and avionics systems for Soviet-era helicopters, many of which are still used by African militaries.

 

Ichikowitz stressed that his company will not do business with any country that is under a United Nations embargo, is at war with its neighbours or opposes other sovereign democratic governments. Furthermore South Africa, through the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) has some of the most stringent arms export regulations in the world to govern every single piece of defence equipment that is exported from the country.

 

Ichikowitz said he believes it’s time to arm countries like Mali, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda with the kinds of unmanned aerial vehicles, surveillance systems and weaponry that will give them an edge against the insurgencies and rogues that threaten their survival.

 

“Today in Africa this is about outlaws versus governments,” he said. “It’s time to trust the governments and give them the capability to defend their democracies.”

 

“In order to avoid the perpetuation of violence and conflict in Africa, African governments need to be allowed to create deterrence and the way to create deterrence is by encouraging and facilitating the creation of a strong domestic defence capability.”

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16 juillet 2014 3 16 /07 /juillet /2014 07:45
Boeing and Paramount sign defence and security agreement

 

15 July 2014 by defenceWeb

 

Boeing and Paramount Group today at the Farnborough International Airshow signed a memorandum of collaboration to jointly develop defence and security opportunities in key international markets.

 

The agreement will allow Boeing and Paramount to apply their complementary strengths in providing aircraft and land systems solutions for customers in Africa and other major markets that face a range of security challenges, Boeing said in a statement. Those include border security; heavy airlift of products and personnel across vast distances; coastal piracy and anti-poaching; and disaster and humanitarian relief as part of future coalition efforts.

 

Platforms being explored under the collaboration include various Boeing rotorcraft, unmanned aerial systems and related support services, as well as Paramount’s portfolio of land vehicles and aerospace systems capabilities.

 

“Boeing and Paramount will be able to provide new or existing customers with a unique partnering of defence solutions and capabilities, including the retrofitting or refurbishment of existing platforms, systems integration, as well as training and maintenance support for any new acquisitions,” said Chris Chadwick, president and CEO of Boeing Defence, Space and Security. “Together we will be able to offer African customers the full scope of defence and security needs from two global leaders in their respective fields.”

 

"Africa is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for aerospace and defence 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,” said Ivor Ichikowitz, Paramount Group chairman. “Paramount has extensive world-class design, development and manufacturing capability in Africa, which we consider to be an asset of the continent. It has for many years been our policy to identify best-of-breed partners to collaborate with in growing our African capability.”

 

Boeing’s defence portfolio includes the KC-46 tanker, 737 Airborne Early Warning platform, ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle, P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter and AH-64 Apache and AH-6i combat helicopters while Paramount offers armoured vehicles, UAVs, patrol vessels and aircraft upgrades, amongst others.

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12 novembre 2013 2 12 /11 /novembre /2013 18:45
Nautic Africa Guardian BR850 boat

Nautic Africa Guardian BR850 boat

 

12 November 2013 by Guy Martin/Oscar Nkala - defenceWeb

 

The Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Marine Unit has commissioned seven new Guardian BR850 interceptor boats from Nautic Africa, which are being deployed on Lake Malawi.

 

They were commissioned by President Joyce Banda last week at their Monkey Bay base, on the shore of Lake Malawi. The boats will be used to patrol the lake, and will also engage in VIP transport/escort, search and rescue and disaster relief operations. They were delivered in pairs over the last three months.

 

James Fisher, CEO of Nautic Africa, told defenceWeb that the contract for the seven boats includes training and maintenance support over a period of five years and that Malawi is in discussions to purchase additional larger boats from the company. One option could be purchasing a 35 metre patrol boat and using it as a ‘mother ship’ from which to launch BR850s, allowing Malawi to cover a much larger area of the lake.

 

Although the BR850s were delivered without weapons, Malawi intends to arm them – the interceptors have weapons mounts for items such as 12.7 mm machineguns.

 

According to the Malawi News Agency, the delivery is a big boost to the operational capability of the Marine Unit, which has struggled to accomplish its mission of securing the country's maritime domain since its foundation in 1978.

 

The Malawi Defence Force’s maritime wing has only a few patrol boats in its inventory, including a couple of armed launches, a dozen Zodiacs and several small patrol craft, including two Namacurras donated by the South African Navy.

 

Fisher said the delivery of the BR850s was a major boost to the Marine Unit as the boats are fast, hardy and strong and suitable for beach landings and navigating shallow creeks and other waterways.

 

Banda said the acquisition of the boats was part of a comprehensive government strategy to improve the working and living conditions of the defence force.

 

"(The) government is committed to improving the living conditions for all men and women in uniform who are currently performing remarkably despite the lack of modern resources and the poor living conditions they are enduring. I am pleased to report that our soldiers who are on the peacekeeping assignment in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are performing excellently and that is an indication of the well disciplined military that Malawi owns," Banda said.

 

The Guardian BR850 is an 8.5 mm aluminium craft with a full load displacement of 3.8 tonnes and can be carried aboard larger vessels for use on boarding operations – it has a single-point hoist mechanism, making it easy for mother ships to hoist the boat onto the water.

 

The craft has a 2.8 m beam and 60 cm draught - this shallow draft combined with a 373 kW diesel with a tunnel propeller drive allows operations close to the shore and in river deltas.

 

They craft has a maximum speed of 42 knots with a range of 295 km at that speed, or a 700 km range at 20 knots for inshore patrol or similar tasks. It is designed for a crew of two with space for a six-strong boarding party, and can be fitted with shock-mitigating seats if intended for high-speed intercept missions. Systems include a GPS/chart plotter and a 2 kW 4G broadband radar. Ballistic protection is available using Nautic’s SuperShield armour, which protects to NATO Level 3+. However, this adds a couple of tons of weight.

 

Nautic began sea trials of the 8.5 metre Guardian BR850 in December 2012. Several African customers have already ordered, and received, the BR850. Nautic Africa recently concluded a R600 million deal to build several 35 metre multi-role patrol vessels for West African clients and these will carry BR850 boats.

 

Ten and 12 metre variants of the Guardian are also available, but none have been built yet as Nautic is full up with other orders. Fisher said there was a lot of interest in the range, and expects further BR850 orders before year-end.

 

The Paramount Group last week announced it had acquired a majority stake in Nautic Africa, and once the Paramount marketing machine gets rolling, Fisher is confident of receiving many more orders – in fact, he is worried that the company won’t be able to cope and that it will need to expand it premises even more. He told defenceWeb that production capacity stands at R500 million a year, but Paramount could bring in orders worth billions.

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 11:45
Paramount Group successfully concludes ATE business rescue

Sept. 17, 2013 by Paramount Group

 

The business rescue process of one of South Africa's truly recognised national assets, ATE South Africa (Advanced Technology and Engineering Company), has become unconditional with the support, both financial and strategic, of the Paramount Group, Africa's largest privately-owned aerospace and defence company – a bold move that is strategic to the continued growth and development of the defence industry on the continent, and which will result in the Paramount Group acquiring ATE.

 

ATE, one of South Africa's oldest and most established aerospace companies, with more than 27 years of experience, will now be incorporated into the Paramount Group, trading as Paramount Advanced Technologies. This will ensure that vital aerospace expertise and world-class competency remains in South Africa, to the benefit of the continent and the broader economy.

 

ATE has been through a tumultuous time over the past few years and was placed under business rescue just under two years ago. Paramount Group's acquisition will ensure the continuation of this strategic business, and in so doing, add significant new and sophisticated aeronautical capabilities into its existing product offering and expand the group's ability to deliver to its many government customers around the world.

 

Ivor Ichikowitz, Executive Chairman, Paramount Group, said: "Paramount Group's success lies in our confidence and faith in our continent's technical ability. The business rescue of ATE demonstrates this commitment and will harness local skills and South Africa's ‘can do' attitude. This transaction will ultimately aid the continent, allow us to drive research and development in this hi-tech field, and participate as one of the leading global industry players.

 

"The alternative to Paramount rescuing ATE would have been for the company to go into liquidation or for a foreign company to acquire the business. This would have meant the loss of a highly specialised strategic capability to South Africa and the continent forever. The Paramount Group is firmly committed to growing Africa's hi-tech competence, and this transaction further provides us the opportunity to do so."

 

"The people we need to salute are the employees, customers and suppliers that have been through an extremely difficult time but have demonstrated their commitment and loyalty by standing by the business and supporting this process."

 

"This acquisition safeguards service delivery for ATE's worldwide customers and allows us to expand the scope of solutions on offer to better serve those who have stood by ATE through the change," said Ichikowitz.

 

"With South Africa becoming a fully fledged member of BRICS, it is imperative that we enter a new phase of industrialisation. The development of home-grown technology, skills and manufacturing capabilities are crucial if we are to capitalise on both the world's appetite to do business in our region and the huge potential for intra-African and intra-BRICS trade. Paramount Group continues to lead by example, demonstrating that South African industry can match the best in the world," said Ichikowitz.

 

The incorporation of ATE will enhance the position of the Paramount Group as the leading privately-owned defence and aerospace group on the African continent, with a strong and diversified global offering, which will see future development of new technologies, job opportunities and skills development.

 

"The conclusion of the business rescue is phase one in terms of saving the company. The company will now have to go through a restructure, the turnaround will be a challenge, but the intention is to rebuild sustainably and retain skills to ensure that we play a significant part in the long-term future of this global industry," said Ichikowitz.

 

Paramountis set on a growth trajectory, which will be further accelerated by the inclusion of ATE competencies into the existing business. This will provide product extensions such as UAVs, sensors, avionics, mission systems and system integration to its already comprehensive and growing suite of aerospace, land and maritime security and defence products. It will also see Paramount Group add to its civilian market expertise in border surveillance, coastal patrol, environmental protection, and disaster and emergency services.

 

"This is just the beginning of a long and challenging journey, this business rescue is proof that we believe in the skills and potential of the business and we look forward to welcoming the ATE staff to the Paramount Group," concluded Ichikowitz.

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11 juin 2013 2 11 /06 /juin /2013 17:45
Sentinel-LE system

Sentinel-LE system

June 10, 2013 Paramount Group

 

African aerospace and defense company Paramount Group has acquired Advanced Technology and Engineering Co. (ATE), one of the longest running aerospace engineering firms in Africa.

 

ATE, which specializes in the production of avionics, sensor systems and unmanned aircraft systems technology, was acquired by Paramount in a "business rescue," saving the company from liquidation, Paramount said.

 

"With South Africa becoming a fully-fledged member of BRICS it's imperative that we enter a new phase of industrialization. The development of home-grown technology, skills and manufacturing capabilities are crucial if we are to capitalize on the world's appetite to do business in our region," said Ivor Ichikowiz, executive chairman of the Paramount Group.

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11 juin 2013 2 11 /06 /juin /2013 16:45
Ivor Ichikowitz, Executive Chairman of Paramount Group

Ivor Ichikowitz, Executive Chairman of Paramount Group

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, June 10 (UPI)

 

South Africa's Paramount Group has acquired Advanced Technology and Engineering Co. Pty. Ltd., a move which has saved ATE from liquidation.

 

ATE is an aeronautical engineering company specializing in avionics, sensor systems and upgrades for helicopter and fighter aircraft,

 

"Paramount Group's success lies in our confidence and faith in Africa's technical ability," said Ivor Ichikowitz, Paramount's executive chairman. "This transaction will aid the continent, allow us to drive research and development in this high-tech field, and participate as one of the leading global industry players.

 

"This acquisition not only safeguards service delivery for ATE's worldwide customers, but builds on our commitment to grow Africa's high-tech competence.

 

"With South Africa becoming a fully-fledged member of BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] it's imperative that we enter a new phase of industrialization. The development of home-grown technology, skills and manufacturing capabilities are crucial if we are to capitalize on the world's appetite to do business in our region," Ichikowitz said.

 

Financial and other details of the transaction were not disclosed but Paramount said its acquisition will preserve about 250 ATE jobs.

 

BRICS, formed in 2010, is an association for promotion of the national economies of emerging nations.

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11 juin 2013 2 11 /06 /juin /2013 12:45
Vulture UAV

Vulture UAV

JOHANNESBURG, June 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

 

ATE (Advanced Technology and Engineering Company (Pty) Ltd), une des plus anciennes entreprises d'aéronautique d'Afrique, spécialisée dans la fabrication de produits de haute technologie pour les marchés mondiaux de la défense, a évité la liquidation suite à son rachat par Paramount Group, un des plus importants groupes de défense et d'aéronautique d'Afrique. Ainsi, un savoir-faire et une technologie essentiels vont pouvoir rester en Afrique.

 

L'entreprise d'ingénierie aéronautique, qui se spécialise dans les drones, l'avionique, les systèmes de détection et les mises à niveau des hélicoptères et des avions de chasse, va devenir la propriété du Paramount Group, suite à la finalisation d'un accord permettant de sauver 250 emplois hautement qualifiés.

 

L'acquisition de Paramount Group garantit le maintien de cette activité stratégique et ajoute de nouvelles capacités considérables et sophistiquées au portefeuille de produits du groupe.

 

Pour Ivor Ichikowitz, président exécutif de Paramount Group :

 

« La réussite de Paramount Group est basée sur notre confiance et notre fidélité dans la capacité technique de l'Afrique. Cette transaction va aider le continent, nous permettre de continuer la recherche et le développement dans ces domaines de haute technologie et continuer d'être un acteur majeur de l'industrie au niveau mondial. »

 

« Cette acquisition non seulement protège les prestations de services en direction des clients d'ATE dans le monde entier, mais maintient notre engagement pour le développement des compétences africaines en matière de haute technologie. »

 

« Étant donné que l'Afrique du Sud est devenue un membre à part entière de BRICS, il est impératif que nous lancions une nouvelle phase d'industrialisation. Le développement local de technologies, de talents et de capacités de fabrication est primordial si nous voulons profiter du désir du monde entier de faire des affaires dans notre région », conclut M. Ichikowitz.

 

L'incorporation d'ATE va améliorer la position de Paramount Group en tant que principal groupe privé de défense et d'aéronautique africain, grâce à une offre solide et diversifiée à l'intention des forces terriennes, marines et aériennes.

 

Paramount suit une trajectoire de croissance qui va encore plus s'accélérer avec l'intégration des compétences d'ATE dans ses activités actuelles. Paramount Group va également étoffer son expertise dans les marchés civils de la surveillance des frontières, les patrouilles côtières, la protection de l'environnement et les services de réaction aux accidents et aux catastrophes.

 

Paramount Group : Le plus important groupe de défense et d'aéronautique africain et un partenaire de confiance des gouvernements souverains. http://www.paramountgroup.biz ou http://www.ivorichikowitz.com Suivez-nous sur Twitter.

 

ATE : Spécialiste en ingénierie aéronautique depuis plus de 27 ans, ATE propose des solutions pour tous les types de missions militaires et civiles. http://www.ATE-southafrica.com

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12 septembre 2012 3 12 /09 /septembre /2012 07:10

Paramount_Group_AHRLAC_400x300.jpg

 

AHRLAC is designed for a wide range of civilian and military tasks.

 

September 11, 2012 defpro.com

 

Interview with John Craig, CEO of the Paramount Group

 

While the Paramount Group is preparing for Africa’s leading defence trade show, the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) taking place September 19th – 23th in South Africa, the company is making progress on one of its most prestigious aircraft development projects. Claimed to be Africa’s first indigenously developed and constructed aircraft, the Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft (AHRLAC) can be expected to attract a considerable number of interested looks at the company’s aerospace exhibit.

Nicolas von Kospoth of defpro.com talked to John Craig, CEO of the Paramount Group, about AHRLAC, as well as the company’s role as one of Africa’s largest defence contractors in regional and international defence and security markets.


defpro.com: First, could you please provide our readers with a brief overview of the Paramount Group?

John Craig: The Paramount Group is at this point Africa’s largest private defence contractor and one of the fastest growing defence companies in the world. It was founded in 1994 and focuses on providing a broad spectrum of fully integrated turnkey solutions to global defence, peacekeeping and internal security forces.

Paramount has established itself as a global innovator with the development of one of the world’s most modern and advanced families of armoured combat vehicles, and a revolutionary aircraft, the first aerial platform of its kind. Integrated with the latest technologies in electronic systems, these world-class platforms enable Paramount to deliver a total defence system to its customers. The Group is a leading innovator in the design and development of state-of-the-art products that it manufactures in locations throughout the world. It is partnered with some of the world’s largest and most reputable organisations in the global defence community.

Paramount Group has the unique ability to understand its client requirements and to use its extensive knowledge and experience to design cost-effective, future-proof solutions. As a result, Paramount has enjoyed strong growth and achieved an excellent track record of delivering successful projects.


defpro.com: How do you assess the achievements of the Paramount Group during the first half of the year and what are your overall aims and prospects for 2012?

Craig: 2012 is proving to be a very good year for us. We obviously don’t measure our results in half years. But, certainly, this year we are growing by almost 30 per cent over the previous year. Thus, it has been a good first half for us; our facilities and our personnel are all very busy on various orders and I think that the second half of the year is equally important for us. We are at the point of hopefully closing some major deals, which you will naturally hear about in due course. But we will have a lot of very important activities in the second half of the year.


defpro.com: In September 2011, the Paramount Group unveiled the Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft (AHRLAC). Could you first please portray this aircraft to our readers?

Craig: AHRLAC is a unique type of aircraft. It is a manned aircraft operated by two persons, a pilot and a systems operator, sitting in a tandem configuration as they would in an attack helicopter. To our knowledge there currently is no other aircraft in this solution space.

AHRLAC offers a number of unique aspects. This includes its unrestricted canopy, purpose-designed to give you all-round visibility for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) roles. Further it has a turboprop pusher-propeller configuration, offering the crew an unrestricted forward-visibility. So it not a conventional “engine front/propeller front” aircraft that has been pushed into a reconnaissance role for which it was not originally conceived.


defpro.com: When the aircraft was unveiled, Aerosud’s Managing Director Paul Potgieter called AHRLAC a “revolutionary aircraft”. Which are the main characteristics and capabilities of AHRLAC that make it revolutionary?

Craig: The aircraft was designed with a flexible ISR and light attack configuration in mind. So this is not a commercial light aircraft that in an afterthought has been configured for these roles. That is what gives rise to a unique construction and concept.

A second aspect is that multi-mission capability was part of the initial consideration. It carries a payload pod underneath the fuselage that can be fitted with different mission payloads. This allows the aircraft to be reconfigurable and rapidly adapt to various types of missions. As you can imagine, this has great benefits for the customer’s investment, as one base platform can be adapted to various missions, according to the need and the time.


defpro.com: Let’s run through the development history of AHRLAC: When was this project conceived and which development stages have since been completed?

Craig: AHRLAC is an opportunity or a gap in the market that we recognised about four or five years ago and leading us to embark on the development of an aircraft. The only aircraft comparable and operating in the sort of sphere might have been the Bronco, an American aircraft that has not been in production for many years.

It required the spark of somebody making the decision that South Africa should develop its own aircraft. Our chairman, Ivor Ichikowitz, loves all things related to aviation and came to realisation that South Africa actually had competence with the development and construction of aircraft. Although South Africa already had a big chunk of this competence, which is shown in the development of the Rooivalk attack helicopter, in service with our Air Force, it is really a first in Africa that an aircraft is conceived and designed from scratch.

Ivor had the idea that it is time for South Africa to step up and not just be a maintenance facility for other companies and for products designed a long time ago. The more exciting part of life is to develop an own intellectual property. This is the only way to grow real competence and great careers.

In terms of milestones achieved, the concept works and the wind tunnel testing is completed. Further, we have accomplished hundreds of missions with a quarter-scale model, which demonstrated the aircraft’s fundamental stability and flight performance.

We are now in the phase of building our first full-scale flying aircraft, which is well advanced. We will be showing key subsystems of the aircraft to selected visitors to the AAD trade show in September and we are hoping to have the first platform assembled towards the end of this year, with the first flight scheduled for the first quarter of 2013.


defpro.com: Which key industrial partners are involved in this project and to what extent have governmental agencies contributed to the development effort?

Craig: AHRLAC is a private-funded initiative. The Paramount Group is funding the development and commercialisation. Our technical partner is our associate aerospace division, Aerosud. We benefitted from their experience with previous aircraft, such as the AH-2 Rooivalk attack helicopter, and their general aerospace competence. Although our technical partner helped us in the development effort, this remains a programme funded as a private venture by the Paramount Group.

Of course, we have a lot of interest and support from the government, in the broader sense, as this is seen as a strategic type of project around which aerospace competence would be developed here in South Africa. But it is important to know that this is not a government-funded project.


defpro.com: Do you consider AHRLAC as a platform that complements the capabilities of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or, rather, as a manned competitor?

Craig: I think AHRLAC is both. There are a number of roles in which it is complementary to UAVs. However, our philosophy is that a man in an aircraft for surveillance roles has got huge advantages over UAVs, which are able only to see and feed back the information of what the camera is looking at in the particular point in time. To our mind, the human being still offers the best all-round surveillance. An aircraft crew can recognise objects of interest at a distance and then zoom in their cameras or sensors for a closer look. Therefore, we believe that a manned aircraft makes a lot of sense in this role.

There are a number of missions which you can naturally only carry out with UAVs and we are not suggesting that UAVs are dead because AHRLAC was conceived. There will always be missions in which it would be extremely dangerous to send a manned aircraft. But a general all-round aircraft, which can be deployed from training through to general surveillance to protecting borders and key installations, as well as having the ability to intervene and deliver an end-effect with weapons? This is a spectrum of capabilities, which we don’t believe can be found with UAVs at this point.


defpro.com: An often-cited argument in favour of UAVs is lower costs. Considering that AHRLAC is a manned platform, does is still offer the affordability advantages over platforms with comparable capability profiles?

Craig: Of course, otherwise we would not have invested in such a programme. It is important to recognise that UAVs range from very light hand-launched close-range aircraft to massive and incredibly expensive aircraft with high-altitude/long-endurance capability and high payload competence. The latter cost up to a hundred million of dollars per unit and only the richest countries on earth can afford to acquire and operate them. The initial acquisition cost for a UAV is only one part of the equation. You then need operators trained and a vast footprint of support, personnel and equipment to be able to launch, support and recover a UAV.

This is an area where AHRLC is completely differentiated, being designed to be self-sufficient, with a two-man crew operating from unprepared airfields and performing their mission with a minimum of personnel to support them. When you look at mission costs or the entire systems costs, the type of UAVs that you would compare to AHRLAC in terms of mission competence, are vastly more expensive.


defpro.com: Which particular markets do you target with this product and what market potential do you assess for AHRLAC?

Craig: AHRLAC is not only a product for the developing world. We received a huge amount of interest in this concept from developed-world air forces and security forces. And there are a number of potential customers who are very actively monitoring and tracking the system’s development. I think that global demand will run to thousands, if not tens of thousands, units of the system. But time will tell.

We have plans to set up production facilities in South Africa. But it is important to note that our global aspirations will also see us, in time, set up manufacturing activities in other regions of the world. This will certainly include Asia, where we had a lot of interest in major programmes and from industrial partners wanting to be part of our global manufacturing set-up.

Our projections for the market size say that it could support more than one manufacturing centre abroad. Our plan is not only to create a global manufacturing centre in South Africa, but also to go and seek out partnerships abroad and to establish regional manufacturing and distribution arrangements.*


defpro.com: I understand that the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) tradeshow in September 2012 will be an important event for the Paramount Group. Which particular trends in the African defence and security market do you perceive and how is the Paramount Group positioning itself at this year’s AAD show to address these trends?

Craig: AAD is for us an important market trade show that reaches most directly the African market, which is our natural expanded home market. This coming edition will see an expanded exhibition from Paramount, representing our largest presence at an exhibition so far. This will include a considerable number of new products from the fields of land systems, aerospace and electronic systems, which we plan to make visible at the show.

Another trend is that the show itself is growing, becoming well-entrenched as the leading show to reach the African market, much as IDEX is for the Middle East. The regional importance of the show is being confirmed and that is also evidenced by an unprecedented amount of international exhibitors – not only from the South African industry but everyone who has an interest in the country’s market in general.

The AAD trade show is an important event where South African companies can show that they are still innovating and coming up with new and relevant technologies for global demand.


defpro.com: Would you say that the international awareness of the potential of South African defence industry is growing in terms of cooperation and foreign investment?

Craig: Yes, I think so. Wheeled armoured vehicles have long been a figurehead of South African defence industry, going back to even before the Second World War. That is evidenced by the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles of many allied forces, which have seen high-profile use in modern-day conflicts. All of those really have their origin in South African technology.

Nevertheless, there was a period some years back when the industry in South Africa was shrinking, re-examining itself and uncertain as to where it was going. But this year’s AAD exhibition will show that there is a resurgence and growing relevance of South African technology, not just to African but also to global markets.


defpro.com: The Paramount Group has made the headlines with interesting development and production cooperation projects with countries such as Azerbaijan, Jordan and naturally many African customers. Would you say that the Paramount Group has a special feeling for the needs of emerging markets, as well as countries that are not gifted with voluminous defence budgets?

Craig: The simple answer is “yes”. These are the markets that we have been working in for almost 20 years, since our inception in 1994. We listen to the market demand and are responsive, in terms of the products that we are creating for these markets, but also with respect to our business model, of creating supplier credit finance and funding structures, which allow our developing-world customers to take on large projects and spread the financial burden over several years. We have projects that we fund for developing-world governments up to 15 year terms. That is something we have done in response to market demand, which has helped grow the business and customer demand.

It is not only the appropriateness of the products for the developing world, meaning that they must be robust, flexible and good value for money. It is also a flexible business approach, which helps customers fund the project, as well as actively supporting the transfer of skills, competence and technology, and creating regional partnerships in key markets to manufacture and support products. These are all fundamental elements of our business philosophy, which possibly gives us a better fit to the market requirements than some of the more traditional NATO-based manufacturers.


defpro.com: African air forces mostly still operate fleets of ageing US, European, Russian and Chinese aircraft. Many of these aircraft are not in an operable condition and budgets will not allow for considerable modernisation or procurement programmes. Will the African military aviation market still be dominated by donations or low-cost sales of surplus aircraft?

Craig: This is an interesting question. You are quite right that there are a lot of legacy fleets dated back to the cold war and largely Soviet-origin aircraft dotted around the continent. More and more of these aircraft are reaching their end of life and it will be very difficult and probably not economically worthwhile to look at doing life-extension programmes. The question is: what after that?

Part of the solution we have found is in supplying and supporting surplus aircraft, such as the South African Air Force Mirage fighter aircraft, which Paramount actively supports. Further, we have a number of customers to whom we have transferred aircraft, providing a fundamental air force capability. But of course, that is only a small part of the market.

From what I can see, the African market is still a key market for lead-in fighter trainers and multi-purpose jets. In a few instances there is demand for super-sonic fighter aircraft –the Chinese are quite active in that respect. However, the new-built super-sonic aircraft market in Africa is not really one that the Paramount Group is going to enter in the short term. There are only very few countries in the region that can justify the acquisition of a top-end type of combat capability.

But this is a market in which an aircraft such as AHRLAC can actually play an important role, considering the real-world requirements, which involve national and border security, as well as securing economic zones.


defpro.com: How do you assess the potential of closer industrial cooperation with companies from emerging markets to field new solutions for customers in these regions? Or are projects such as AHRLAC emblematic for Paramount’s own efforts to field suitable products for these markets?

Craig: The field is wide open. Both, from the point of view that there is regional demand, as we observed in the case of AHRLAC, as well as due to existing regional competence. India and Brazil have well-established industrial competence in aircraft manufacturing. Further, our business model is such that we would encourage partnerships with competent industrial partners in those regions. There are a number of discussions on the way. So don’t be surprised if in a year or three we have industrial manufacturing centres in various regions.


defpro.com: To sustain the level of quality and diversity of the Paramount Group’s products and services, the company requires competent specialists from many fields of activity. How is the Paramount Group involved in creating and fostering a workforce that also builds on the potential of South Africa’s and other African countries’ labour market?

Craig: Sustainability for the long run requires the renewal of your product line-up and renewal of your human resources – human capital is the most important one. In our land systems and aerospace fields we established an innovation and training centre, which is separately funded and set-up from our ongoing production activities. That is where we grow and nurture young talents – the next generation of innovators – and create an environment in which they can learn from the more experienced colleagues, but also have the freedom of mind to think outside the box and develop new skills. This is not just about product development, it is also about technologies including production techniques. We are actively supporting and investing a lot of money to make sure that we are sustainable in the long run. We need to attract and grow the right talents to take the company forward.


defpro.com: What is your assessment of the South African government’s efforts to creating a favourable economic environment for defence companies and encouraging indigenously developed defence solutions?

Craig: I took a while for our new government during what I would call the dawn of the new democratic era to understand the position and the value of the indigenous defence industrial complex and to recognise that defence industry can actually have an important national economic function. However, our government is being very supportive in terms of developing and creating high-value jobs and creating a platform in which intellectual property can be generated in South Africa. This helps South Africa to become an economic centre around which the commercial benefits of value-add of intellectual property may steadily increase.

There are a number of initiatives that our government is pursuing, including through our Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Among them is the creation of aerospace and defence villages, attempting to create a cluster of like-minded business that support each other and yield a critical mass of industrial partners.

So, in general, our government has a realisation of the role that they can play and they are creating and facilitating an enabling environment.


defpro.com: Finally, what are your personal visions and aims for the course of the Paramount Group in the next years?

Craig: One of the objects that we have set to ourselves is to become a billion-dollar company in the next three or four years, in terms of our sales revenue. I know that size is not everything, but it is certainly a globalised target that we have set ourselves. Even though we are not there yet, we are well on target.

Apart from that, our objective is to remain a company which is fun. Of course we are a serious player, dealing in serious matters of defence and security. But Paramount is a company which is committed to allowing its employees to work in a fun environment and to be free to innovate and think of new ways of doing things. There is a strong desire in the Paramount Group, while continuing to grow, to retain its core cultural values and to be a company that is different and a good place to work.


defpro.com: Thank you very much, Mr Craig.


____
* Additional information, specifications and resources for Paramount’s AHRLAC can be found on the company’s website at http://goo.gl/VNrKu.

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