Take a closer look at "Mwari": The first military aircraft manufactured in South Africa since the 80s with a Shona name

Mwari base model plane costs around $10 million, with add-on options including high-tech optical pods, electronic intelligence gathering and night vision.

Paramount Group, a South African privately owned company recently unveiled a locally-made precision strike aircraft named Mwari in the Shona language. The two-seater attack aircraft is the first to be produced in SA since the 1980s and is designed to fill multiple military roles.


Development of the Mwari began in 2010. Paramount markets it as a relatively inexpensive alternative to pricy, high-maintenance military aircraft for surveillance, maritime patrol and counter-insurgency operations.


A base model costs around $10 million, with add-on options including high-tech optical pods, electronic intelligence gathering and night vision.

To date, Paramount has invested around more than $250 million in the aircraft's development.


Mwari has been designed to easily perform multiple missions thanks to an innovative Interchangeable Mission Systems Bay (IMSB), located in the belly of the aircraft, providing near-endless sensor and payload options which can be integrated and swapped out in less than two hours. Open-architecture and flexible systems allow for the quick and low-cost integration of new pods, avionics, cargo, special mission equipment, weapons and sensors.


Mwari has a service ceiling of up to 31 000 feet and offers a maximum cruise speed of 250 knots, a mission range of up to 550 nautical miles with the ordinance and overall endurance of up to 6.5 hours. The aircraft also offers a short take-off and landing (STOL) capability, with retractable landing gear optimized for both semi and unprepared airstrips or sites.

Mwari has been designed with portable production in mind. Depending on customer requirements, the aircraft could be exported in kit format for final assembly in customer countries and can easily integrate into supply chains worldwide, enabling scalable mass production.


The multi-mission Mwari aircraft is equipped with anti-drone technologies, enabling it to hunt and kill Medium Altitude and Long Endurance (MALE) Drones which otherwise require expensive ground-based air defence missiles.

The anti-drone Mwari can engage MALE drones at altitudes of 20,000-30,000 feet, where only highly sophisticated and costly ground-based air defence systems (GBADS) can reach, which would otherwise require the intervention of fighter jets.


Advanced sensors, an extended range, and pinpoint accuracy are at the forefront of Mwari’s innovative system design, making the platform an ideal solution for the threats posed by MALE drones to the territorial integrity of sovereign nations.


The anti-drone Mwari aircraft was unveiled in March 2022 at the World Defense Show, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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Mungwadzi Godwin

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