The Paramount Group has enhanced its pilot training capability by acquiring four dual-seater Mirage F1s from the French government.
Paramount Aerospace Systems, a subsidiary of the Paramount Group, has been supporting a number of air forces around the world in the maintenance and technical operation of advanced fighter aircraft for many years. In this context, Paramount Aerospace Systems has been operating a pilot training capability from ab initio to advanced fighter training in South Africa and customer countries. The demand for these services is increasing due to the global shortage of well-trained military transport and combat pilots, according to Paramount.
To increase its training capability, Paramount Aerospace Systems negotiated with the French government to acquire four dual-seater Mirage F1s. These aircraft are compatible with the existing fleet of Mirage F1s that were acquired by the Paramount Group from the South African government. In 2003, the South African Air Force put 21 F1 aircraft up for disposal by way of Armscor. Paramount purchased the entire Mirage F1 package, including airframes, spares and support equipment in 2006. A number of these aircraft have since been sold to Gabon and Congo-Brazzaville.
Paramount carries out full airframe and engine overhauls of the F1, as well as upgrades to its avionics and mission systems.
Brian Greyling, CEO of Paramount Aerospace Systems said: “One of the most important trends in today’s military aviation market is the increasing utilisation of legacy aircraft for adversary training by air forces. The new acquisition of the Mirage F1 aircraft will inject additional ‘top gun’ capability into Paramount Group’s advanced pilot training programmes. Paramount Aerospace Systems is the only privately-owned aerospace company in the world that is capable of offering military type aircraft training from ab initio to supersonic fighter capability.”
Ivor Ichikowitz, Group Chairman of Paramount Group, said: “The global economic slowdown has reduced the defence budgets of most countries in the world, resulting in cuts across many defence sectors, including aircraft, naval vessels and military vehicles. Such budgetary constraints are driving the decrease in procurement of new military aircraft, helicopters and UAVs and place huge emphasis on more affordable solutions such as maintenance, repair and modernisation of existing equipment and the associated training requirements.”