SA aerospace unveils cool new wings

27 September 2011 - 15:01 By Sapa

South Africa's aerospace industry revealed a new, multi-purpose aircraft on Tuesday.

The Ahrlac (Advanced High Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft) would have numerous applications, from border control to surveillance, said the companies behind the project.

The aircraft was shown to the media in Centurion by Aerosud chairman Paul Potgieter and Paramount Group chairman Ivor Ichikowitz.

Potgieter said the Ahrlac would have rapid deployment capabilities and a range of 1100 nautical miles. It would have short landing and take-off capability, could be used for, among others, reconnaissance and would be armed with at least one 20mm cannon.

Ichikowitz said US200 million (R1.59 billion) had been invested in the project so far. It was hoped the aircraft would cost under US10m (R79.59m) each.

So far, a quarter scale model had undertaken 80 flights. Full-flight testing still had to be done.

Potgieter expected production to begin at the end of 2012 or in 2013.