Paramount Group has signed a joint venture agreement with Azerbaijan’s AirTechServices Corporation to form Paramount Aerospace Azerbaijan, which will offer manufacturing capabilities for the modernisation and enhancement of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.
The new company was announced in Baku yesterday during the Azerbaijan Defence Expo (ADEX). Paramount said the partnership has created a strong force which positions it as a leader in cutting edge aerospace technologies in the region giving it the advantage of manufacturing, upgrading and integrating various capabilities across a range of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft platforms, including Mi-17 and Mi-24 helicopters and Su-25 and MiG-29 aircraft.
The joint venture agreement was signed by the Chairman of the Board of AirTechServices, Fuad Seyidaliyev, and the Executive Chairman of Paramount Group, Ivor Ichikowitz.
“Paramount Group has a long association with Azerbaijan. Our partnership has started out in land systems and this relationship has strengthened as the country developed into the fast-growing economic powerhouse that it is today. It is very exciting that we can build on this foundation to establish advanced aerospace capabilities in Azerbaijan,” Ichikowitz said.
“Through Paramount Aerospace Azerbaijan it is our intention to transfer skills, technology and advanced aerospace capability to Azerbaijan and the wider region. It is our intention to develop manufacturing facilities, establish research and development facilities, and create a strong partnership that will be extremely beneficial to the industries of both our countries.”
Seyidaliyev said that, “Our joint venture brings together leaders in aerospace innovation in a strong and unique partnership which will deliver world class technologies and solutions, from sophisticated aerospace technologies, to the modernisation and upgrade capabilities of fighter and rotary wing aircraft for the specific requirements of defence forces in the region. There are great synergies between our organisations that will bring huge benefits to our customers.”
Paramount Aerospace Azerbaijan will present a wide range of aerospace capabilities and technologies to the CIS market, Paramount said. The Group has provided targeting sights and missiles for Azerbaijani helicopters and offers helicopter composite rotor blades, missiles, helmet-mounted sights, sensor turrets, avionics, weapons and self protection systems for helicopters. Paramount offers weapons, avionics, upgrades and system integration for fixed wing aircraft.
The creation of the new company is another example of Paramount’s close ties with Azerbaijan. Also at ADEX, the Group announced that it had handed over another six Marauder armoured vehicles to the Ministry of Defence Industries of Azerbaijan.
These form part of a second tranche of 60 armoured vehicles for Azerbaijan, with Paramount having previously delivered a first batch of 30 vehicles to that country’s armed forces. In 2012 the Azerbaijan Ministry of Defence Industries (MDI) ordered 30 Marauder and 30 Matador mine protected vehicles, following the establishment of a joint production facility in the country and the production of an initial 15 Matador and 15 Marauders under a joint production agreement set up in 2009.
“This is a very important milestone in our relationship with the Ministry of Defence Industries of Azerbaijan. We are continuing to strengthen the ties between Azerbaijan and South Africa. The defence and aerospace industry is one of the most strategic areas of cooperation between nation states. We believe that this collaboration and our investment will continue to support industrial development and boost the high-tech defence and aerospace industry,” Ichikowitz said.
“With our joint facility having been in operation for the past six years we have a thoroughly streamlined production line that allows for scalability in servicing the local market and region. We are actively looking to introduce other land systems solutions to our production line such as the Mbombe 6×6 Infantry Combat Vehicle and Maverick 4×4 Internal Security Vehicle.
“We believe that this will allow the Ministry of Defence Industry and Paramount Group to continue the development of human capital whilst ensuring we best service the Government of Azerbaijan and region with the latest in armoured vehicle technology.”
The Marauder is an IED and mine protected vehicle designed to operate in built-up and confined urban settings. It can carry of crew of ten and be configured as either a troop carrier or combat vehicle. The Marauder is fitted with a double-skinned hull throughout the cabin and crew compartment to protect it against kinetic attack up to STANAG 4569 Level III.
Matador carries a crew of 14 and was conceived for long range military or peacekeeping operations with the ability to handle rugged and demanding terrains. It has a top speed of 100 km/h and will protect its crew from 14 kg TNT detonated directly underneath the hull or 21 kg of TNT if detonated under any wheel.
Paramount is building a factory to produce armoured vehicles in Kazakhstan and this should be ready to start production towards the end of this year. In December 2013 Kazakh Defence Minister Adilbek Dzhaksybekov announced the launch of the project in the capital Astana, which will see the production of 120 to 360 military and non-military vehicles a year.
According to the Kazakh ministry of defence, the project involves Paramount, Kazakhstan Engineering and Kazakhstan Engineering Distribution. The three companies signed an agreement in November 2013 over military vehicle production and maintenance.
Work at the facility will include hull fabrication, vehicle assembly and quality control. The facility could produce wheeled armoured fighting vehicles as well as commercial vehicles such as buses will be manufactured for both local and export markets.