Paramount and AAL moving forward with composite rotor blade production

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Paramount and its United Arab Emirates-based partner AAL Group have successfully completed initial testing of their composite helicopter blades for Mi-type helicopters.

AAL’s team, in partnership with Paramount, will continue the testing process to achieve full qualification, Paramount said on 15 November at the Dubai Air Show, where the rotor blades are on display.

“This significant achievement represents a pivotal step towards the planned commencement of composite blade production at AAL’s MRO [maintenance, repair and overhaul] facilities in Sharjah, UAE,” Paramount said.

In February, Paramount Aerospace Systems inked a strategic partnership with AAL Group for the marketing of Mi-type helicopter solutions and the production of Mil main and tail rotor composite helicopter blades.

“The integration of our advanced composite blades on AAL’s Mi helicopter is a tangible demonstration of our commitment to providing innovative solutions in the aerospace industry,” said Steve Griessel, Paramount Global CEO. “These blades represent a significant leap forward in terms of performance, durability, and cost-effectiveness, and we are excited to showcase them at the Dubai Airshow.”

“Paramount’s presence in the UAE, in partnership with AAL, exemplifies our commitment to building global networks and supporting the defence and aerospace capabilities of countries worldwide,” added Griessel. “We are excited about the future and look forward to continuing our fruitful partnership with AAL Group.”

Paramount Aerospace Systems offers composite rotor blades for Mi-17/24 series helicopters. Although the production of the composite blades is more expensive than metal blades, the operational life (at 20 000 hours, five to eight times that of metal) makes the overall cost of operation substantially cheaper, Paramount said. Individual blades can be replaced rather than the whole set.

Paramount acquired the composite rotor capability from Advanced Technologies and Engineering (ATE), which became Paramount Advanced Technologies, which opened its composite rotor blade facility in Midrand in October 2006.

AAL Group CEO Olga Martyshchenko said, “Our collaboration with Paramount is yielding impressive results. The new composite blades are a game-changer, and we are proud to have them integrated on our Mi helicopter for the world to see at the Dubai Airshow.”

Paramount added that amidst the current supply and delivery challenges of main rotor blades, the production of composite blades provides a reliable source for ongoing operations, ensuring security and defence support.

Established in 2000, AAL Group provides a range of services and support for Mi-type rotary-wing aircraft. It specialises in support for Mi-17/Mi-171 (Mi-8T, Mi-8MTV-1, Mi-17, Mi-171, Mi-8AMT and Mi-17V-5) helicopters, including maintenance, repairs, overhauls, modification, lease/charter operations, programme management, contractor logistics support, calibration, special process services and training.

Paramount also has a rotor blade partnership with India – already manufacturing armoured vehicles under a joint venture with Bharat Forge Limited, in February the company announced that it was partnering to develop and manufacture composite helicopter rotor blades as well as mission systems and stores management systems for medium helicopters in India.