Paramount partners with the UAE’s AAL Group on Mil helicopter solutions

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Paramount Aerospace Systems has announced a strategic partnership with AAL Group in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the marketing of Mi-type helicopter solutions and the production of Mil main and tail rotor composite helicopter blades.

Announced during the IDEX defence show in Abu Dhabi on 22 February, Paramount and the AAL Group said they will collaborate to service and upgrade fleets of helicopters across Africa, as well as produce interchangeable composite rotary wing blades to meet the increasing demand from countries across the continent.

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.

AAL Group CEO Olga Martyshchenko stated that, “in Paramount, we have found a partner committed to EMEA [Europe, the Middle East and Africa] 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 Global CEO, Steve Griessel, stated that: “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, Paramount said.

“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,” Paramount stated.

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.