Paramount’s Mwari chalks up first sales

South Africa’s radical Mwari multi-role military aircraft has racked up its first sales, with more to come, says its manufacturer.

Picture: Paramount Group

Rough and ready: Mwari’s rough-field capability suits it for the asymmetric warfare role. Picture: Paramount Group.

Paramount Aerospace Industries says it hopes to be able to reveal more orders for its Mwari turboprop at the IDEX exhibition in Abu Dhabi in February, after it announced that nine of the aircraft have been sold.

Mwari, which is aimed at the intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and light attack markets, has been under development for several years. The sales are the first of a South African-manufactured combat aircraft since the 1980s.

Paramount has sealed deals with multiple unnamed customers for the aircraft. Deliveries began in September.  

Asked if he could say which nations had bought the twin-boom aircraft, a company spokesman told African Aerospace: “Not right now, but I hope we can announce it fairly shortly.”

He made it clear, however, that there is more than one client and noted that the South African media had reported that at least one of them is an African nation.

Announcing the sales at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2022 defence exhibition near Pretoria, the company added that demand levels have enabled “full levels of production” at its factory in Wonderboom, near Pretoria.

The aircraft contains an interchangeable mission systems bay (IMSB) located in the belly of the aircraft, in which sensor and payload options can be integrated and swapped in less than two hours to take advantage of its innovative ‘plug-and-play’ mission system.

These can include surveillance radars and electro-optical devices for the ISR role. This, the company says, makes Mwari suitable to carry out duties that previously required several different aircraft, such as helicopters, surveillance platforms and light attack types.

The aircraft has been designed for the kind of asymmetrical warfare that modern military forces across the world are increasingly being asked to conduct.

The two-crew cockpit, range of sensors and long endurance particularly suit the aircraft for duties such as lengthy border patrols.

“I think we’ll be in a position at IDEX to maybe announce more customers, in terms both of the nine [aircraft] we’ve announced, but also, completely new customer orders,” said the spokesman.

Intriguingly, Paramount has established an office in Athens and its website contains a section in Greek.

Alan Dron

Alan Dron

Alan Dron is air transport editor at Arabian Aerospace for which he has written since its launch.