As the second AHRLAC development aircraft (PDM) makes its first public appearance at AAD alongside the first prototype experimental aircraft (XDM), the AHRLAC company plans to begin the final assembly of the first production aircraft (MSN 1) this evening, in front of key stakeholders in the programme.
The PDM and XDM aircraft have now amassed more than 500 flight hours between them.
AHRLAC intends to have the first two aircraft ready for delivery by late 2018. Due to customer confidentiality, the company has not revealed either customer's identity, but notes that both of the aircraft are in the Mwari ITAR-free armed variant. The aircraft on display at AAD is a representation of what a Mwari could look like, but the final configuration depends on individual customer requirements.
MSN 1's fuselage, wings, tails and engine are ready and in position to be mated in the final assembly hall at the newly opened AHRLAC factory at Wonderboom Airport, north of Pretoria.
Substantial components of MSN 2 are complete, and will follow the first aircraft down the final assembly line.
Components of MSN 3 and 4 are in construction, the two aircraft to be used for cabin pressurisation trials. Pressurisation has been specified as a desirable feature by potential customers, and all subsequent production aircraft will have it as an option.
Whereas the AHRLAC is a baseline 'green' aircraft that can be used for a variety of non-armed missions, the Mwari is the armed version, with weaponisation being undertaken by Paramount, which is a founding partner and sponsor of the AHRLAC project. For aircraft intended for a US-centric market, Paramount has teamed with US partners to offer the Bronco II variant with ITAR-restricted equipment.
The Mwari has recently undertaken a series of counter-insurgency/patrol/ close air support mission exercises - with assistance from foreign experts in the missions - to assess its suitability for its primary intended roles.