South Africa’s Defence Industry collaborating on a Global Scale


Star Hero Media Group, in association with the Africa Aerospace and Defence Expo (AAD), hosted the inaugural annual Combat Aircraft Conference International 2018 on Friday 21 September 2018 at the Air Force Base Waterkloof, Pretoria.

This conference was the first of its kind in Africa and formed part of the AAD Expo, Africa’s only aerospace and defence expo that combines both a trade exhibition and an air show and is rated amongst the top six exhibitions in the world. Under the theme ‘The South African defence industry collaborating on a global scale’, presentations where done by Leonardo Aircraft Company, Paramount Group, Hensoldt Optronics, Rohde & Schwarz, Tunnel Radio and CSIR with an underpinning message of partnerships and collaboration.

The conference brought together 200 delegates in aerospace and defence and allowed local industry an opportunity to network with leading local and international industry players.

“We are honoured to have planned and implemented a conference of this scale, as well as hosting industry role players from Brazil, Germany, Hungary, Canada, Azerbaijan, USA, Kenya, Zimbabwe, amongst others,” said Nonhlanhla Nxumalo, Director at Star Hero Media Group.

Star Hero used technology as an integral part of the conference ensuring that it was paperless to reduce the conference carbon footprint. Guests were given an experience of engaging and interacting on the conference app which was used to check-in delegates at registration, view the programme, download speaker presentations, generate new leads, exchange contact information and networking.

At the conference, Paramount Advanced Technologies launched the Flexible Light Armed Systems for Helicopters (FLASH) and Smart Weapons Integration on Fastjet Trainers (SWIFT). The FLASH system is integrated on a Paramount owned AS550 Fennec helicopter. This FLASH campaign was also used to develop small South African companies to get onboard and have their products on the helicopter. Paramount then used the AAD to promote these South African on a global scale. The FLASH and SWIFT concepts was built on a strong and trusted foundation of avionics and weapon system integration and upgrades over the last 20 years for Rotary and Fixed Wing aircraft.

“The Paramount Group is known for its ability to adapt to the constant change in the aerospace and defence market. It is for this reason that we have expanded our successful FLASH product to the fixed wing platform. We will be targeting air forces around the world with this mission system as a customised and scalable solution, offering lower acquisition and operating costs,” said Ivor Ichikowitz Executive Chairman, Paramount Group.


This announcement coincides with the signing of a collaboration agreement with one of Italy’s largest aerospace and defence companies, Leonardo. Through this collaboration agreement, Leonardo and Paramount Advanced Technologies (PAT) will explore the development of a weaponized version of the M-345 Aircraft Jet Trainer aircraft. PAT will act as Leonardo’s interface for this programme and will manage contractual and technical involvement of other South African and international companies.

The SWIFT system on fixed wing will focus on current threats and current customer requirements. This offering has low acquisition and operation costs. It is suitable for non-conventional or asymmetric warfare. And will therefore address the customers growing need for multi-role configuration to adapt to different mission roles without major re-configuration and extended time delay.


“Paramount Advanced Technologies strategy is to use the existing building blocks of experience and technology developed on legacy platforms into current and relevant platforms. This way, the customer can benefit from low NRE, speed to market and adaptable solutions to customers’ needs,” said Ralph Mills Chief Executive Officer, Paramount Advanced Technologies.