- Paramount Group is aiming for below USD1,000 cost per flight hour for its Bronco II
- Estimates for other light attack aircraft are at about USD2,000
South Africa’s Paramount Group is targeting a sub-USD1,000 cost per flying hour for its Bronco II light combat aircraft, according to a company official.
Ivor Ichikowitz, Paramount Group chairman, told Jane’s in a recent interview that the company specifically designed the Bronco II from a clean sheet with versatility and affordability in mind. He said the Bronco II will have seven hours of endurance, the ability to operate from austere landing strips, and at least 24 hard points.
Paramount is developing the Bronco II to serve what Ichikowitz sees as a burgeoning market for light attack aircraft. Not only is the US Air Force (USAF) mulling the possibility of buying such aircraft, but Ichikowitz said he sees multiple other opportunities in the United States including the special forces community. He said Paramount is also talking to potential paramilitary, drug enforcement, and border protection users.
“We believe that there will be a huge amount of activity in this particular market segment over the next couple of years,” Ichikowitz said. “Primarily because air forces around the world, and specifically in the US, need to do a lot more with a lot less budget.”
Beechcraft’s AT-6 Wolverine and Sierra Nevada Corp (SNC)/Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano are participating in the USAF’s Light Attack Experiment (LAE), formerly known as OA-X. Retired USAF Lieutenant Colonel Michael Buck said in a May Mitchell Institute policy paper that aircraft under consideration at the time for LAE had hourly operating costs of about USD2,000.
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