By Ed Attwood
Defence firm sees significant opportunities in Gulf state to build aerospace expertise
South Africa’s Paramount Group is aiming to bring its
aerospace expertise to the UAE, on the back of a recent collaboration to build
armoured vehicles in the country.
The defence firm refurbishes military jets and also has a 19
percent stake in Aerosud, an independent aerospace company that supplies
aircraft parts to Airbus, Boeing and BAE Systems, among others.
“We think there are significant collaboration opportunities
with the aerospace industry here,” Paramount executive chairman Ivor Ichikowitz
told Arabian Business.
“Partly because of the geographic location – and partly
because the Gulf also happens to be one of the biggest aerospace markets in the
world - we think we have a lot of technologies that would be very useful here.”
The UAE is in the process of building an indigenous
aerospace and defence industry, spearheaded by Abu Dhabi-owned investment fund Mubadala.
Among Mubadala Aerospace’s assets include STRATA, which is
already shipping composite aircraft parts to Airbus, and commercial and
military maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) units.
The fund’s military division, AMMROC, has tied up
partnership deals with US defence giants Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin.
This week, Paramount Group signed a joint venture deal with
the UAE’s International Golden Group (IGG) that will see both companies set up
a production facility for armoured vehicles within two years.
“As the governments of South Africa and the UAE get closer
in terms of strategic collaboration, there’s definitely potential for
cooperation there,” Ichikowitz said.
“Right now, we are also in the process of developing one of
the most sophisticated multi-role aircraft, which will be manufactured in South
Africa and elsewhere in the world.”