MATTAPONI, Va. Engineers at Bronco Combat Systems (BCS) USA, a joint venture between Paramount Group International in South Africa and defense contractor Fulcrum Concepts in Mattaponi, Virginia, are working to revolutionize light-attack and tactical command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) aircraft with the new BRONCO II.
The BRONCO II is a two-crew C4ISR and precision strike aircraft based on the Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft (AHRLAC) capable of carrying a wide payload range, including weapons, sensors, and systems, in extended airborne mission operations. Built for purpose, it uses a pusher propeller and has an open system architecture to enable the rapid incorporation of current and emerging systems for mission flexibility and adaptability.
“This aircraft is a real game-changer for the warfighter. It is unique in that it has been designed specifically as a light attack and ISR platform from the onset. This is not simply an armed variant of a civilian crop-duster or a modified training aircraft,” says Paramount Group International Chairman Ivor Ichikowitz. “Every inch of this aircraft is designed for purpose -- specifically for the kind of asymmetrical warfare that sophisticated military forces are now being asked to conduct. These missions demand rapidly deployable, hybrid ISR and close air support capabilities for which no other platform has been specifically designed.”
AHRLAC, the platform upon which the BRONCO II is based, is 100 percent digitally designed and already in production using the latest advanced aerospace manufacturing technologies. Work has started on establishing a manufacturing base that will enable the full production of the airframe and mission systems integration in the United States.
“BRONCO II was designed with the U.S. market in mind,” Ichikowitz adds. “It contains significant American content and we are now excited to be able to commit to bringing full production of the aircraft home to the USA.”
The BRONCO II’s internal Interchangeable Multi-Mission System Bay (IMSB) allows a single airframe to be easily and rapidly re-configured to perform multiple roles, incorporating high-performance targeting sensors, network communication systems, precision weapons, an electronic self-protection suite, and mission planning systems.
The aircraft is a purpose-built, sophisticated airborne find/fix/finish/exploit/analyze (F3EA) system able to operate for extended periods in remote theaters with minimal infrastructure and a small logistics and maintenance footprint. The BRONCO II operates at a fraction of the procurement and lifecycle cost of an aircraft with similar mission applications and capabilities, officials say.
Fulcrum Concepts LLC will lead weapons and system integration for BRONCO II. Fulcrum Concepts Co-Owner and President of Engineering Solutions Scott Richman says. “BRONCO II is the ultimate solution to the F3EA capability, a truly multi-role aircraft with real-time C4ISR perfectly suited to the kind of light attack requirements we are seeing coming out of the U.S. military forces and a number of other programs in the U.S. market. We are excited by the opportunity to be one of the lead partners in bringing this innovative capability to the United States.”
“This aircraft is a completely clean-sheet, next-generation design, using the latest CATIA and digital design systems specifically for digital production,” adds Dr. Paul Potgieter, CEO of Aerospace Development Corp., which designed the aircraft. “Even the factory in which this aircraft is currently being produced embraces the innovative principles of the Fourth Industrial Revolution by emphasizing the use of rapid digital prototyping, laser additive and 3D printing, and a jig-less manufacturing approach.”
Bronco Combat Systems has been established as a U.S.-based entity which will bring the aircraft to the U.S. end user. The founding partners are Paramount Group USA, Fulcrum Concepts LLC, and ADC, who designed the AHRLAC platform. Bronco Combat Systems are actively engaging with other domestic U.S. partners to scale the entity in both capability and reach.
“This is a very exciting time for us, our partners and future US customers who will benefit from the rapid fielding of the Bronco II and its unique capabilities. Discussions are underway with highly respected and experienced U.S. suppliers for total supply chain management, mission software, and mission training,” Ichikowitz says.