The Paramount Group and Aerosud created the Advanced High-performance Reconnaissance Light Attack (AHRLAC) aircraft in 2009. It was designed in Africa for low-cost operations from austere locations. It was a modern and sophisticated design, with advanced sensor and mission systems. The design is reminiscent of the OV-10 Bronco or Cessna 337, with a pusher propeller configuration and tandem cockpit. It has 7 hours plus mission endurance with an 800kg payload and full fuel. Take off distance is 550m with a full payload. The high wing and pusher propeller configuration help with operation from austere locations it can self-deploy with tools and equipment stored in the lower pod.
This lower pod takes up the majority of the lower half of the fuselage and can be configured for different payloads from SAR, and EO to EW and Cargo. Each wing has 3 hard points, 1 of which is plumbed for fuel.
Things went well for the development programme and by 2016, the aircraft had completed over 250 hours of testing. Plans for an uncrewed version emerged and Paramount entered into an agreement with Boeing for integrated mission systems.
It had many advantages over trainer-derived light attack aircraft like the Super Tucano or re-purposed crop dusters like the Iomax Archangel, it was purpose-designed for the mission, whether that mission is anti-poaching or close air support. Another key point is the options list can take the basic platform and add a range of sensors, weapons, engine upgrades, avionics and weapons.
It was subsequently renamed the Mwari
In 2018, Bronco Combat Systems in the US partnered with Paramount to market the Bronco II aircraft.
Additional details were reported
BCS said the fact that the aircraft is 100% digitally designed makes the ability to industrialize the Bronco II in its totality in the United States a reality. “Work has started on establishing a manufacturing base that will enable the full production of the airframe and mission systems integration in the United States.”
US company Fulcrum Concepts LLC will lead weapons and system integration for the Bronco II. Founded in 2008, it describes itself as a “small business that provides full spectrum integrated solutions to customers with unique tactical requirements”. This includes weapons and sensor integration, aircraft structural analysis, electrical design, reverse engineering, flight testing, ground testing, training and obtaining airworthiness certificates, amongst others.
It is not yet clear what Boeing’s role in the Bronco II will be – in 2016 Boeing and Paramount signed a cooperation agreement whereby Boeing would offer weapons and sensors on the militarised version of the Ahrlac.
Read more at National Defense
In 2019, Paramount Aerospace Holdings experienced financial difficulties
Paramount Aerospace Holdings, a subsidiary of Paramount Group, has made an application for the commencement of business rescue proceedings for the Aerospace Development Corporation (ADC), which is developing the Ahrlac aircraft. Paramount Aerospace Holdings and the Potgieter family each have 50 percent stakes in the Aerospace Development Corporation (formerly Ahrlac Holdings). On 28 February Paramount made an application to the North Gauteng High Court for the company to be granted Business Rescue status.
“Paramount Aerospace has been engaged for more than five months in intense negotiations between the shareholders of ADC, in order to ensure the sustainability of the company; the Board has reached deadlock. Despite Paramount’s best efforts to resolve the deadlock and to inject new capital into the business, the shareholders unfortunately could not reach an agreement,” Paramount said in a statement on Monday.
According to Philip Coetzer, the lawyer for the Potgieters, the Ahrlac factory has been shut down and around 140 employees sent home. They did not receive January or February salaries, according to Rapport. The company has invested heavily in machine tools to make many of its own parts as part of a policy of self-sufficiency in its entire design and manufacturing process
In late 2019, a business rescue plan was agreed and the aircraft development was back on
In May 2020, Paramount partnered with Leidos to pursue the U.S. Special Operations Command Armed Overwatch prototype programme.
(Reston, Va.) May 4, 2020 – Leidos (NYSE:LDOS), a FORTUNE® 500 science and technology leader, today announced a teaming agreement with Paramount Group USA and Vertex Aerospace to pursue a new contract to deliver the Bronco II, a new purpose-built, multi-mission aircraft. The aircraft will support the U.S. Special Operations Command’s Armed Overwatch program.
This strategic relationship, with Leidos as the prime contractor and Paramount and Vertex as primary teammates, will combine decades of experience integrating, manufacturing, and delivering cutting-edge airborne solutions to the warfighter.
The Bronco II is a rugged, affordable, and sustainable multi-mission aircraft that will be manufactured in Crestview, Fla. The Leidos offering is built to meet the specific needs of U.S. Special Operations Command.
The final phase of the Business Rescue Plan was completed in August 2020
Johannesburg. 18th of August 2020. Paramount Aerospace Industries Proprietary Limited (“Paramount Aerospace Industries”), part of the Paramount Aerospace and Technology Group, announced today that the Business Rescue Plans of the Aerospace Development Corporation Proprietary Limited (ADC), the manufacturer of the AHRLAC aircraft and its subsidiaries* are in the final phase of implementation.
Operating costs are said to be less than $1,000 per hour.
Sadly, the Bronco was eliminated from the Armed Overwatch competition in September 2021.
Marketing and production continue, and good luck I say!