Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Hensoldt South Africa and the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) want to work together on the development of modern radar devices. A corresponding research and development agreement has now been concluded in Pretoria. The focus is on the new generation of 3D radar systems for use at sea and on land, which the German sensor house claims to be one of the most important radar product lines. The Munich-based company wants to use it to further expand and improve the radar portfolio.

The corvettes used in the German Navy since 2008 are equipped with the three-dimensional multifunctional radar TRS-3D from Hensoldt for air and sea surveillance. It has a range of more than 200 kilometers and is capable of tracking more than 750 targets. By coupling with the MSSR 2000 I identification system, position and movement data can be correlated, which facilitates the automatic identification of ships and aircraft. According to the company, the TRS-3D radar system is the market leader in its class. More than 60 devices are used by navies and coast guards worldwide.

The newly developed technologies are to be used in the new generation of radar products. The aim is to produce software-configurable devices with a significantly higher level of accuracy than is currently the case. They are also said to be less susceptible to countermeasures. The first products are expected to be delivered by the end of 2023.

The alliance that has now been established could be the first step towards a strategic partnership. Hensoldt South Africa has already gained initial experience working with CSIR on a training simulator for airspace observation.

CSIR, which celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, is a scientific and technological research organization with around 2,350 employees - comparable to the German Fraunhofer Society. It reports to the Ministry of Science and Technology. For the Swiss Federal Armaments Office (armasuisse), CSIR developed a multistatic radar system - as opposed to a monostatic one at a fixed location - for drone detection.

Hensoldt South Africa was founded on September 4th, 2019. The aim is to "use the country's industrial base to support Africa, the BRICS market and the Middle East, among other things," said Thomas Müller, CEO of the Hensoldt Group. The German specialist in defense and security electronics employs 5,600 people worldwide and generates annual sales of around one billion euros (company information). With 700 employees, Hensoldt South Africa is the largest division outside of Europe. The Pretoria-based subsidiary not only serves the defense and security markets. The combined radar and electro-optical surveillance system developed by Hensoldt South Africa is used to protect rhinos against poaching.

HENSOLDT South Africa's Managing Director, Rynier van der Watt (left) and CSIR Divisional Group Executive, Dr Motodi Maserumule., Photo: Hensoldt

Hensoldt South Africa goes back to the merger of GEW Technology, a specialist in the field of electronic warfare, and Hensoldt Optronics Pty.

In 2020, Hensoldt South Africa acquired the Defense & Security and Air Traffic Management divisions from Tellumat. As a result, the product range was expanded to include radar, IFF and data link (ESUT reported). By then, Hensoldt South Africa will have a turnover of more than 1.5 billion rand (87 million euros). Hensoldt plans to invest half a billion rand (29 million euros) in South Africa.

It is not uncommon for large arms companies to have offices in South Africa. In addition to Hensoldt, Rheinmetall has a subsidiary in the country on the Cape of Good Hope. European examples are the Dutch shipyard group Damen with its subsidiary Damen Shipyards Cape Town and Thales with Thales South Africa. Volkswagen and BMW produce in South Africa.

Hans Uwe Mergener