South Africa’s Paramount Group announced on 6 February that its AHRLAC factory had ramped up to full production, as a production-ready model of the aircraft with new features has undergone testing and demonstration.
The production development model (PDM) builds on the company’s testing experience from the AHRLAC prototype, with a raft of changes to the new aircraft improving the cockpit and performance characteristics.
Within the cockpit, these include an onboard oxygen generation system, revised cockpit canopies, and the addition of an ejection seat to the rear cockpit. The aircraft also features improved mission and avionics systems. The PDM also has retractable landing gear, and fuselage design improvements that have reduced the airframe weight and allowed it to be rated to 8G.
Jane’s has been told that weapons trials for the armed Mwari variant of the aircraft are expected in the coming months. The Mwari has been demonstrated carrying Mokopa anti-tank guided missiles but reportedly also has the capability to carry 20 mm cannon pods, 70 mm guided rockets, and Mk 81 precision-guided munitions.
The company’s AHRLAC prototype aircraft has completed over 300 engine hours of trials, with the aircraft also being deployed to various locations in South Africa for hot and austere environment testing.
With the development of the prototype aircraft now having reached full maturity, the company is planning to continue employing the aircraft for improvements to the AHRLAC programme in areas such as sensor and man-machine interface development.
To date, the aircraft has already been tested with a range of sensor systems, including electro-optical sights, laser designators, wide-area infrared line scanners, and synthetic aperture search radars.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at ihs.com/contact