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Congolese Air Force buys South African Paramount AHRLAC aircraft.

| 2023

The Congolese Air Force recently acquired four units of the Paramount AHRLAC (Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft), according to a company announcement dated September 12, 2023. In doing so, the Democratic Republic of Congo joins Mozambique as the operator of this multi-role aircraft. Manufactured in South Africa, the AHRLAC is designed for use in a variety of roles and is being considered by smaller air forces in Africa.

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Congolese Air Force acquires South Africa Paramount AHRLAC Aircraft 925 001   AHRLAC incorporates a high inverted swept wing, a twin fin tail, and a semi-retractable tricycle landing gear (Picture source: Paramount)

The AHRLAC incorporates a high inverted swept wing, a twin fin tail, and a semi-retractable tricycle landing gear. It is powered by a Canadian PT6A turboprop engine and is equipped with South African armaments. The aircraft integrates various advanced multifunction displays, electro-optical systems, and compact sensors. It is designed to be reconfigurable for different roles and missions.

The cost of the acquisition of the four AHRLAC aircraft by the Congolese Air Force has not been disclosed but is estimated not to exceed 45 million euros, maintenance, and training included. The aircraft is marketed as an affordable option for countries with limited military budgets.

The AHRLAC is expected to partially replace the Congolese Air Force's existing fleet of Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoots, some of which have been grounded due to a lack of spare parts, following sanctions imposed on Russia by Europe. Of the seven Su-25s officially listed as being in service in the Democratic Republic of Congo, only two or three are reported as operational.

Paramount, the South African consortium responsible for the AHRLAC, is said to be in discussions with other African countries, including Angola, Mali, and Malawi, as potential future operators of the aircraft.

The AHRLAC is manufactured at the Paramount aerospace campus in Wonderboom, north of Pretoria, South Africa. The facility uses modern machinery to manufacture all airframe components and subsystems directly from a digital model.

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