Paramount Group has conducted the maiden flight test of its first advanced high-performance reconnaissance light aircraft (AHRLAC) prototype at Wonderboom airport in Pretoria, South Africa.

Piloted by test pilot Johannes Joubert, the experimental demonstrator (XDM) prototype flew for nearly 35 minutes at a speed of around 120k at an altitude of 9,000ft, as reported by Defence Web.

The flight test was conducted to evaluate the aircraft’s performance and flight characteristics, and used a Cessna Caravan as a chase plane.

Fitted with various test equipment, including temperature and strain gauges and accelerometer, XDM is scheduled to fly between 100 and 200 hours over the next six months to help the company evaluate the AHRLAC’s full flight envelope, design and handling characteristics.

The company is currently developing the second prototype to evaluate AHRLAC’s mission and weapons systems, and its Martin Baker MK 17 Ejection seat.

Called Advanced Demonstrator (ADM), the prototype is set to join the flight testing from the second quarter of 2015.

Jointly manufactured by Paramount and Aerosud, AHRLAC is a two-seater aircraft designed for both military and civilian tasking, such as intelligence gathering, close air support, training, cargo transport and light attack missions.

"The solution is to build African capabilities to solve these African challenges."

Capable of carrying surveillance, weapons, radar and electronic warfare systems, the aircraft can also be modified for peace-keeping and emergency relief policing, border control, drug control and reconnaissance missions.

Paramount Group executive chairperson Ivor Ichikowitz said: "AHRLAC is a home-grown, world-class capability that will enable developing countries and advanced nations to strengthen and diversify their security infrastructure.

"The emergence of Africa as an increasingly important global economic power brings with it the expectation on the world stage that Africa must itself play a greater role in avoiding and controlling the perpetuation of violence and conflict on the continent.

"The solution is to build African capabilities to solve these African challenges."

The company is currently discussing AHRLAC sale with a number of potential customers, and plans to start deliveries in the last quarter of 2015.

Image: The first advanced high-performance reconnaissance light aircraft prototype during its maiden flight test. Photo: courtesy of Paramount Group.

Defence Technology