Paramount Group, The New Leader Of The South African Defence Industry
Paramount Group was founded by African industrialist and businessman Ivor Ichikowitz in 1994 during South Africa’s transition. Over a 23-year period, Paramount has established itself as Africa’s largest independently-owned defence and aerospace business. At the onset of the new millennium, Paramount experienced a shift becoming a prime contractor selling surplus South African National Defence Force (SANDF) equipment. Fast-forward six years and we see the business delve into innovation by developing and launching the Marauder (armoured vehicle) in addition to acquiring a fleet of Mirage F1s from the South African Air Force (SAAF). Over the next few years, Paramount expanded into combat systems launching the Matador and Maverick armoured vehicles. More recent innovations include the Mbombe 6X6 in 2010, a high level ballistic and mine protected vehicle with a flat bottom hull. The Mbombe 6X6 was selected by the Jordanian Armed Forces in February 2015. The Mbombe series has continued to evolve with the launch of the Mbombe 8X8 in 2016.
With unprecedented growth, it was inevitable that Paramount would fully take to the skies by purchasing a stake in Aerosud and developing their aerospace offering with the launch of the AHRLAC concept (a light reconnaissance and counter-insurgency aircraft) in 2011. Paramount now has one of the strongest aerospace offerings in Africa comprising supersonic fighter aircraft solutions, air force establishment, systems integration, avionics, UAVs, sighting and mission sensors. The current construction of an aircraft factory set to produce the Mwari aircraft (AHRLAC) will be the most advanced of its kind in Africa.
Paramount continues to generously contribute towards veteran and conservation efforts. It has supported conservation efforts through aerial platforms, combat training programmes for park rangers, and the establishment of South Africa’s largest K9 facility that trains detection and ranger dogs for anti-poaching patrols. Paramount has donated several aircraft to national parks in Africa.
Collaboration is a large component of Paramount’s success and the future continues to look promising. Partnerships have been at the core of Paramount’s growth allowing the company to thrive in a highly competitive environment and to expand into markets beyond Africa with headquarters and facilities in Europe and Central Asia (Azerbaidjan and Kazakhstan mainly) and local manufacturing partners in the Middle East (especially in Jordan).
PARAMOUNT GROUP PROFILE
- Midrand, South Africa
- Cyprus, Europe
- Kazakhstan, Central Asia
April 2015: Modernises production facility in Isando to 25 000 m².
June 2015: Develops state-of-the-art naval vessel production facility in Cape Town.
January 2016: Production commences at new 15 000 m² armoured vehicle factory Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering in Kazakhstan.
June 2016: AHRLAC production facility under construction.
EMPLOYEES: Over 3000
REVENUE: Paramount does not divulge its finances, but it has been reported that its revenue is approaching $1 billion, if not at that mark already.
COMPLIANCE: Paramount works in accordance with international compliance regulations and governments in good standing with the UN and the international community.
- Aerosud (part of Paramount Group, supplies parts to Boeing and Airbus)
- Airbus Group
- Armor Group (USA)
- Ashok Leyland (for Indian market)
- BAE Systems
- DCNS (nowadays very limited)
- Griffon Hoverwork
- Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering
- KADDB Investment Group
- Paramount Aerospace Azerbaijan
- Pratt & Whitney (for AHRLAC)
- Spirit Aerosystems
- Zodiac Aerospace
2013: Industrial and Automotive Design (IAD), Advanced Technologies & Engineering (ATE), and Nautic Africa.
September 2014: Acquisition of Aerosud Aerospace Systems (now Paramount Aerospace).
Veecraft Marine was acquired through Paramount subsidiary Nautic Africa, providing Paramount with the means to build vessels from eight to more than a hundred metres in length.
April 2015: Acquired DCD Protected Mobility’s manufacturing facility in Isando, South Africa and some industrial assets to significantly increase the production capacity of its armoured vehicle range with a potential output of 400 vehicles per year. Paramount Combat Systems became the new name of the group’s expanded Land Systems business unit.
October 2016: Acquisition of Austral Marine.
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
July 2014: MOU signed with Boeing to jointly develop opportunities in key international markets. 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.
September 2014: Acquired Veecraft. Signed MOUs with Aselsan.
February 2015: MOU signed with Ukraine’s Motor Sich JSC for helicopter modernisations.
March 2016: Boeing and Paramount Group signed an agreement to cooperate on an advanced mission system for a variant of the Advanced, High Performance, Reconnaissance, Light Aircraft (AHRLAC). Under the agreement, Boeing will develop a mission system for Mwari, the military variant of AHRLAC. It will also provide training and through-life support.
September 2016: MOU signed with The Armored Group (TAG) for the promotion of vehicles in selected markets.
- MBOMBE 8 (8X8 INFANTRY COMBAT VEHICLE)
- MBOMBE 6 (6X6 INFANTRY COMBAT VEHICLE)
- MBOMBE 4 (4X4 INFANTRY COMBAT VEHICLE)
- MARAUDER (ARMOURED PERSONNEL CARRIER)
- MAVERICK (INTERNATIONAL SECURITY VEHICLE)
- MATADOR (ARMOURED PERSONNEL CARRIER)
- 8.5M GUARDIAN (HIGH SPEED PATROL AND INTERCEPTION VESSEL)
- 11M GUARDIAN (HIGH SPEED PATROL AND INTERCEPTION VESSEL)
- 15M GUARDIAN (FAST RESPONSE VESSEL)
- 17M SENTINEL (CREW AND PATROL VESSEL)
- 22M SENTINEL (CREW AND PATROL VESSEL)
- 24M SENTINEL (CREW AND PATROL VESSEL)
- 58M FRONTIER (PATROL VESSEL)
- 85M FRONTIER (OFFSHORE PATROL VESSEL)
- 8.5M SILVER SURFER (UNMANNED SURFACE VEHICLE)
- MWARI (LIGH RECONAISSANCE AND ATTACK AIRCRAFT)
- SUPER 17 (TACTICAL TRANSPORT HELICOPTER)
- NIGHT HAWK (MI-24 HELICOPTER GUNSHIP)
- MIRAGE F1 (FIGHTER AIRCRAFT)
- MWEWE (UAV SYSTEM)
- ROADRUNNER (UAV SYSTEM)
- VULTURE (UAV SYSTEM)
- CIVET (UAV SYSTEM)
- PAT HMSD (HELMET MOUNTED SIGHTING DISPLAY)
- FLASH (MULTI-PLATFORM MISSION SYSTEMS)
- LIGHT ATTACH MISSION SYSTEM
- FIGHTER JET MODERNISATION
- SIGHTING SYSTEMS
- ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS
Written by Sylvia Caravotas (Satovarac Consulting) for OIDA