Hensoldt South Africa and CSIR partner on radar development


Hensoldt South Africa and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have signed co-development and license agreements for the development of new-generation radar technology.

A new generation of tactical 3D surveillance radar systems are being developed for naval and land deployment, which will modernise one of Hensoldt’s key radar product lines and further enhance its extensive radar portfolio, the company announced on 29 March. To this end, Hensoldt South Africa has entered into a research and development agreement with the CSIR, which has built up significant radar expertise and heritage over the past 75 years.

“As a key player in the South African defence industry, Hensoldt South Africa is leveraging its specialised product development experience, radar portfolio management skills and insights into global market requirements, complementing the CSIR’s vast experience in radar research and development, as well as its latest radar technology, which will be used in the development of the radar,” Hensoldt said.

The newly developed technology will be used in cutting-edge radar products that are software-configurable, with accuracy far surpassing current technology and boasting increased resistance against counter-measures, at a very competitive price. The first products are expected to be ready for delivery by the end of 2023.

The CSIR is co-developing core components of the technology with Hensoldt South Africa, while Hensoldt South Africa is also responsible for the project management, product development, industrialisation and system engineering of the products.

“We are delighted to work with Hensoldt South Africa as our commercialisation partner. This partnership with Hensoldt South Africa supports the CSIR’s strategy of strengthening industrial development by working very closely with the private and public sectors to address the needs of industry and society,” said the CSIR’s Divisional Group Executive of Mining, Manufacturing, Defence and Security, Dr Motodi Maserumule.

“Our South African and European shareholding puts us in the unique position to translate foreign direct investment into local R&D, job creation and expanded local expertise, with development and manufacturing taking place in South Africa, by South Africans,” said Hensoldt South Africa’s Managing Director, Rynier van der Watt. Once the technology has been developed, Hensoldt South Africa expects to generate significant foreign revenue as it will leverage the Hensoldt Group’s international sales channels, in addition to its own, to export the radar products to customers worldwide.

Hensoldt South Africa will be manufacturing the products at its sites in South Africa and will outsource the manufacturing of some components and sub-assemblies to local partners in the industry. Hensoldt South Africa is also responsible for the logistics and support of the product.

The programme will see a number of jobs being created in Hensoldt South Africa, at the CSIR, and in the organisations’ downstream supply chains, as the development and ultimate production of the radar product line is ramped up over the next three years.

This development programme has been planned in parallel with Hensoldt South Africa’s acquisition of Tellumat’s Defence & Security and ATM (air traffic management) business units in 2020, in order to serve as the basis for establishing its radar capability in South Africa. The company’s Radar Business Unit was launched in the beginning of February 2021, in line with this strategy. The project is currently the largest radar development programme in the country and establishes Hensoldt South Africa as one of the major players in radar in South Africa, the company said.

“The signing of the contract and the joint development illustrates the high level of cooperation between Hensoldt and the CSIR over the years,” said van der Watt.

“This is only the beginning of such strategic partnerships between the CSIR and Hensoldt South Africa. We look forward to expanding this relationship to other areas of science, technology and innovation,” said Maserumule.

Further building on both Hensoldt South Africa and the CSIR’s strong affiliation with academia in South Africa, universities will also be playing a key role as partners to the CSIR and Hensoldt South Africa on research relating to this programme.