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8 octobre 2014 3 08 /10 /octobre /2014 07:45
Paramount to develop mid-size UAV as it grows unmanned product range


07 October 2014 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb


Paramount Advanced Technologies will start development work on a light medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (MALE UAV) next year, after expanding its unmanned aircraft range with the recently launched Mwari and Roadrunner platforms.


The new UAV will weigh between 500 and 600 kilogrammes and will have an endurance of up to 24 hours, Paramount officials said after unveiling the Mwari and Roadrunner small UAVs at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2014 exhibition at Air Force Base Waterkloof.


The 25 kg Mwari is based on a scaled down model of the Advanced High Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft (AHRLAC). Paramount used experience gained with its quarter scale unmanned flying AHRLAC model to produce the Mwari.


Jan Vermeulen, Business Development at Paramount Advanced Technologies, said that the company finished producing two Mwari prototypes a couple of months ago ahead of the type’s launch at AAD. He added that several potential customers have expressed interest in the type, which features a sensor turret in the nose. Endurance is four hours and line of sight range is 40 km.


The new Roadrunner UAV was designed with a rhomboid wing for high strength and compact dimensions – wingspan of the 15 kg aircraft is 1.5 metres. Vermeulen said the configuration gives a high speed range, making it less susceptible to bad weather. The UAV will be available in a variety of different engine configurations for speeds ranging from 70 to 300 km/h depending on whether petrol, electric or jet engines are used. An electric engine will give an endurance of 45 minutes while a fuel engine will provide a range of around two hours. Vermeulen said the aircraft has flown with turbine, propeller and ducted fan engines and that the next stage is to fly with a petrol propeller engine.


The Roadrunner is launched by catapult and either stalled and landed on its belly or caught via a net. Sensors include an infrared camera and electro-optical sight. The aircraft will be ready for production around January 2015, according to Paramount.


Also showcased at AAD 2014 were some of Paramount Advanced Technologies’ other UAVs, which were developed from experience gained by the acquisition of Advanced Technologies and Engineering (ATE). The 5 kg Civet tactical UAV is powered by an electric motor giving an endurance of one hour and a line of sight range of 15 km. The aircraft is already in service in Namibia’s national parks and with surveying companies. The Civet, Roadrunner and Mwari all share the same payload.


Vermeulen said that that Paramount Advanced Technologies acquired 30 years of UAV experience from ATE and is aggressively expanding its unmanned aircraft systems portfolio. An important part of the company’s strategy is to develop unique software and payloads that enhance platform effectiveness, such as software that can automatically detect and track targets and notify the operator, so he does not have to look at his screen all the time.


Paramount aims to integrate its unmanned vehicles with its various air, land and sea products for a better combined solution. Its recently launched Robotics division is exploring unmanned ground, sea and subsurface vehicles using common hardware and software. On the ground vehicle side, Paramount is exploring the use of unmanned vehicles for threat detection with the possibility of having a robotic sensor/prodder to deal with improvised explosive devices.

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11 septembre 2014 4 11 /09 /septembre /2014 16:45
The Paramount Roadrunner UAV

The Paramount Roadrunner UAV


08 September 2014 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb


Paramount Group is investing R100 million in unmanned vehicles with the launch of a new Robotics division, which encompasses unmanned ground, air and sea vehicles.


Discussing the launch of the new entity last week, Ivor Ichikowitz, Executive Chairman of Paramount Group, said that, “The next generation of innovation in the global defence and security sector will be in the Robotics sector. As warfare becomes more complex and the political risk associated with loss of life becomes more sensitive, both sophisticated and developing defence forces alike are investing in reducing the number of soldiers exposed to dangerous environments. In light of this we are pleased to announce the establishment of Paramount Robotic Systems – a consolidation of Paramount’s mission systems, unmanned and robotics capabilities across land, sea and air. This division will consolidate Paramount’s robotics research and development activities as well as the organisations’ current unmanned programmes.”


The Group will invest over R100 million in research and development funding in robotics, “bringing to market some of the most exciting innovations in the autonomous defence space.”


“There is no defence company locally that has a robotics division like ours. We are now focussed on developing unmanned robot systems that take the human element out of the equation. This is a first for Africa and the Southern hemisphere, and we are very excited to be forging the way to making South Africa world leaders in the robotics industry,” said Ichikowitz.


Paramount Group already has a number of unmanned products in its stable. It acquired unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capabilities through the acquisition of Advanced Technologies and Engineering (ATE), now Paramount Advanced Technologies. Its UAV range includes the Civet, Roadrunner rhomboid wing UAV and new Mwari UAV. Paramount has also proposed an AHRLAC 25 unmanned version of its Advanced High-performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft. On the naval side, the company is offering a remotely operated Guardian vessel.


“We are seeing a huge growth in unmanned systems,” Ichikowitz said, adding that, “we have the capability and competence to lead the way.” He said the new Robotics division is a catalyst for a whole range of innovation and that Paramount is working with universities and other institutions in this regard.


Although the research and development investment in robotics comes from Paramount’s own funds, in future the Group will explore co-development with global partners. He said that having no government funding means the company in innovative and able to move fast with projects.


At the same time as the Robotics division was announced, Paramount also revealed it had bought Aerosud Aerospace Systems and Veecraft Marine, further adding to its already diverse capabilities. Ichikowitz said these investments and innovations “are a true testament to the skillset and entrepreneurial spirit of the continent. As we celebrate our 20th anniversary at the same time as South Africa celebrates its 20 years of democracy, we are proud to be recognised as global innovators with world-leading technologies and solutions. The development of the defence industry will go a long way towards creating an indigenous African capability that will deal with threats to the security of the continent.”

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8 septembre 2014 1 08 /09 /septembre /2014 11:45
La firme sud-africaine Paramount multiplie les acquisitions


08.09.2014 par Philippe Chapleau - Lignes de Défense


Paramount, la société créée il y a 20 ans et dirigée par Ivor Ichikowitz, poursuit son expansion.

Elle a acheté le chantier naval du Cap Veecraft (350 employés et un carnet de commandes de près de 100 millions d'euros). L'achat a été réalisé via Nautic Africa, filiale de Paramount.

Paramount s'est aussi offert AeroSud, après avoir repris l'an dernier ATE (voir mon post du 9 juin 2013 ici). ATE a été renommée Paramount Advanced Technologies.

La société sud-africaine a également annoncé le lancement d'une filiale spécialisé dans la robotique, ainsi que le début de la fabrication de pales pour hélicoptères de type MI-17 et MI-24.


AHRLAC (Advanced High Performance Reconnaissance and Light Attack Aircraft)

AHRLAC (Advanced High Performance Reconnaissance and Light Attack Aircraft)


A noter enfin que l'AHRLAC (Advanced High Performance Reconnaissance and Light Attack Aircraft) de Paramount a réalisé son premier vol public le 13 août (voir une vidéo ici).


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19 décembre 2013 4 19 /12 /décembre /2013 17:45
A Paramount Matador armoured vehicle

A Paramount Matador armoured vehicle


13 December 2013 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb


Paramount Group, South Africa’s largest private defence company, has teamed with Kazakhstan to produce armoured vehicles in that country.


Kazakh Defence Minister Adilbek Dzhaksybekov on Wednesday announced the launch of the project in the capital Astana, which will see the production of 120 to 360 military and non-military vehicles a year. Production is expected to commence by 2015.


According to the Kazakh ministry of defence, the project involves Paramount, Kazakhstan Engineering and Kazakhstan Engineering Distribution. The three companies signed an agreement last month over military vehicle production and maintenance.


Work at the facility will include cutting and welding armour plates, vehicle assembly and quality control. Wheeled armoured fighting vehicles as well as commercial vehicles such as buses will be manufactured for both local and export markets.


Dzhaksybekov on Wednesday noted that Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev stipulated that by 2020, some 80% of Kazakhstan’s military hardware should be supplied through domestic production.


The Kazakh defence ministry said this is the first such high-revenue joint venture in Central Asia and will see significant local investment, skills and technology transfer. At least 150 jobs will be created and 50 engineers trained.


Apparently the armoured vehicles that will be manufactured at the plant were tested by Kazakhstan’s armed forces in May and June this year.


Paramount Group Chairman Ivor Ichikowitz said: “It is a great privilege for Paramount Group to have been selected as the strategic partner to Kazakhstan Engineering Distribution for the establishment of this landmark facility in Kazakhstan. This is a very important milestone in the strengthening of ties between Kazakhstan and South Africa. The defence and aerospace industry is one of the most strategic areas of cooperation between nation states.”


Ichikowitz added: “It is our intention to establish a fully fledged armoured vehicle and land forces manufacturing facility to engage not only in manufacturing but also in Research and Development, for the production of an indigenous range of products that are ideally suited to Kazakhstan and other markets in the region. We believe that this strategic collaboration and our investment will support the industrial development of the country and boost the high-tech defence and aerospace industry.”


Miles Chambers, Business Development Director at Paramount said, “We are pleased to participate in this large project under which not only manufacture and assembling of the machines but also research and design work will take place. We will participate in the development of Kazakhstan's defence capabilities through transfer of technology and investment of our own funds.”


Paramount has done business in the region before – for example, Paramount delivered 30 Matador and 30 Marauder vehicles to Azerbaijan’s armed forces.

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5 décembre 2013 4 05 /12 /décembre /2013 12:45
Défense : DCNS se lance à l'abordage de l'Afrique

DCNS table en moyenne sur des marchés de "200 millions d'euros maximum" dans les pays africains ciblés, soit deux à trois patrouilleurs Adroit (photo DCNS)


05/12/2013 Michel Cabirol – LaTribune.fr


Le groupe naval nourrit quelques ambitions en Afrique au moment où s’ouvre à Paris un sommet pour la Paix et la Sécurité sur le continent africain. Objectif de DCNS : vendre des bâtiments pour lutter contre la piraterie.


DCNS a en ce moment les yeux de Chimène pour le marché africain d'où il était jusqu'ici complètement absent. Et plus particulièrement pour les pays producteurs de pétrole off-shore, qui ont besoin de renforcer leur marine afin de protéger leurs plates-formes et leurs bateaux contre la piraterie. Le groupe naval, qui propose quatre modèles de bâtiments différents à partir du patrouilleur "L'Adroit" pour des missions de surveillance et de police, a donc mis le cap vers ces pays en bâtissant une stratégie pour pénétrer ces marchés. DCNS est également prêt à fournir des systèmes de communications C3I ou C4I


DCNS table en moyenne sur des marchés de "200 millions d'euros maximum" dans les pays ciblés, soit deux à trois patrouilleurs Adroit, explique-t-on à "La Tribune". A l'exception du Nigéria, qui souhaite renforcer fortement sa marine (800 à 900 millions d'euros). Les offres de DCNS prévoient en général une charge de travail locale.


Piriou et le sud-africain Paramount pour gagner en Afrique


Le groupe naval va s'appuyer sur deux partenariats, l'un avec le chantier Piriou à travers la société Kership (55 % Piriou et 45 % DCNS),  l'autre avec le sud-africain Paramount, propriétaire depuis peu du chantier naval Nautic Africa. Kership a pour mission de s'adresser à l'Afrique plutôt francophone (mais pas que) et, plus précisément aux pays du Golfe de Guinée : Gabon, qui veut des OPV (Offshore Patrol Vessels), Congo Brazzaville, Guinée équatoriale et Cameroun.


"Ces pays font un énorme effort pour moderniser leur marine", précise-t-on à "La Tribune". Kership est également en première ligne au Nigéria intéressé par des patrouilleurs de type Adroit, qui seront fabriqué en France.


De son côté, Paramount vise a priori les pays anglophones. DCNS est notamment allié depuis de longues années à Nautic Africa, bien avant son rachat par Paramount, pour remporter le programme Biro de la marine sud-africaine. Les Sud-Africains veulent acquérir huit navires, quatre OPV de 85 mètres et quatre IPV (Inshore Patrol Vessels) de 60 mètres. Outre l'Afrique du sud, Paramount, qui a obtenu une licence de production, prospecte au Ghana, Tanzanie, Namibie, Angola, Mozambique et… Sénégal.


Les Chinois bien positionnés en Afrique


Pour DCNS, la partie sera loin d'être facile en Afrique :  peu de pays ont une planification d'acquisitions à l'occidentale et la concurrence fait très souvent du low cost. C'est le cas des Chinois, qui sont par exemple très bien implantés au Nigéria. Ils y ont déjà vendu des OPV. Les Israéliens sont également au Nigeria pour des raisons commerciales - ils ont vendu des patrouilleurs Shaldag - mais aussi pour surveiller les islamistes locaux. Sans oublier la concurrence coréenne et brésilienne. Brasilia a récemment envoyé des OPV faire le tour de l'Afrique.


Outre la concurrence féroce, les banques sont également assez réticentes à financer les opérations en Afrique. Enfin, "les marchés africains peuvent être parfois compliqués", rappelle-t-on. Sous-entendu, la corruption y est endémique.

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