South Africa’s AHRLAC in bid to become USAF’s Bronco II
The South African built AHRLAC aircraft has been unveiled as a bidding competitor in the race for the United States Air Force’s Bronco II light attack aircraft contract.
The aircraft, which was designed and built in South Africa has seen promising development since it’s first flight in 2014, and this latest announcement confirms that the Paramount Group is making good strides towards being a serious competitor on the international stage.
Paramount has formed a United States based subsidiary called Bronco Combat Systems in partnership with Aerospace Development Corp and Fulcrum Concepts, and intends to create a US based manufacturing base for the Bronco II, and discussions are already underway with undisclosed US suppliers, which is thought to include Boeing. The aerospace giant has already signed a broad agreement with Paramount in 2014, and later signed a deal to supply combat systems for the aircraft in it’s bid for the Bronco II contract.
Paramount chairman Ivor Ichikowitz said: “This is not simply an armed variant of a civilian crop-duster or a modified training aircraft. Every inch of this aircraft is designed for purpose – specifically for the kind of asymmetrical warfare that sophisticated military forces are now being asked to conduct.”
The AHRLAC will be competing against the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano, as well as 2 other competing platforms from Textron Aviation, namely the AT-6 Texan II and recently developed Scorpion twin-jet.
It is as yet unclear what the AHRLAC’s chances are in the bid for the contract, although it is known that the USAF has already hosted flight demonstrations of the Super Tucano, AT-6 and Scorpion, and has already announced a second upcoming demonstration, but only invited the Super Tucano and AT-6.
The AHRLAC platform has recently been pushed as the Mwari light attack platform in South Africa, which is perhaps aimed more in the direction of African based customers to fulfill a multi-mission role as a Light Attack and reconnaissance platform.
Paramount says it has already secured 2 launch customers for the AHRLAC, and that the first production built aircraft is expected to roll off the assembly line at Wonderboom Airport in the second quarter of 2018.