In a joint statement, Paramount and the AAL Group announced that they will collaborate to service and upgrade fleets of helicopters across Africa, as well as the production of interchangeable composite rotary wing blades to meet the increasing demand from partner countries across the continent.
Established in 2000, AAL Group Ltd. is a leading international aviation organization headquartered in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), providing a full range of services and support for Mi-type rotary-wing aircraft. The company offers integrated and efficient solutions for its customers around the world to support the operational readiness of their helicopter fleets.
AAL Group Ltd. CEO, Olga Martyshchenko, stated that, “We strive to be the leader in the rotary-wing industry, placing our global customers’ needs at the core of our business. In realising our vision, we recognise that there is always more that can be done and that the demands of our customers are evolutionary. In Paramount, we have found a partner committed to EMEA defence industrialisation, with an acute understanding of the asymmetrical challenges faced by governments across Africa. We look forward to continued and shared growth on the heels of this landmark announcement”.
The companies’ production resources will be situated within a newly established facility located on a plot of land directly connected to the airside.
Paramount has established an extensive composite blade design and development capability for Mi-type helicopters. The composite blades offer a clear advantage over metal blades.
Paramount Global CEO, Steve Griessel, stated: “Paramount’s composite main rotor blade development started in 2006, in response to a customer requirement. The composite blades were designed to provide the same functional and performance capability, including shape, size and weight as the metal blades, enabling installation without any recertification of the helicopter platform elements, limiting certification only to the composite blades. This substantially reduces the development and qualification process and does not affect any other major or structural parts.”
The composite blades have a significantly increased operational life, at least five to eight times more than the metal blades but also allowing individual blades to be replaced in the event of damage rather than the whole set. In the event of damaged blade or a set can be easily repaired at location and returned to service in a short period of time. Although the production of the composite blades is more expensive than metal blades, the operational life makes the overall cost of operation substantially cheaper.
With the current challenges in supplies and deliveries of the main rotor blades, Customers are unable to maintain their fleets and continue providing the necessary security and defence support to ensure their sovereignty. Composite blades production can be ramped up to provide a source for continued operations and offer Customers longer usage life while reducing dependence on the challenging supplies network. .
Griessel added: “We are privileged to increase upon our footprint in the United Arab Emirates in partnership with AAL, and view this announcement as a major step in expanding the versatility and application of our pioneering portable production model. In tandem with organisations such as AAL, we look to create a truly global network of portable production factories and in doing so, embolden the economic trajectories of our partners in Africa, in the Middle East and around the world”.
The milestone partnership announcement was made on the backdrop of the biennial International Defence Exhibition & Conference (IDEX) 2023 in Abu Dhabi, UAE, renowned as one of the most important tri-service defence exhibitions in the world, host to 130,000 visitors, and 1,350 exhibitors from over 65 countries.