Hensoldt showcases new Quadome radar to SA Navy

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Hensoldt recently demonstrated its new Quadome 3D surface and surveillance radar to a South African Navy delegation, which got a chance to see the progress made in the development of this locally designed and built radar.

“We are proud to showcase the Quadome radar to the South African Navy, highlighting the remarkable progress we have made in local development,” said Bennie Langenhoven, Chief Executive of Hensoldt South Africa’s Radar business unit. “This collaboration demonstrates the depth of South African innovation in the defence sector.”

Among those that witnessed the demonstration in late February were Rear Admiral (JG) Tebogo Motsene, Director Naval Acquisition; Rear Admiral (JG) Handsome Matsane, Director Maritime Warfare; Captain Werner Stassen, Mine Warfare Squadron Commander; Lieutenant Commander Cornelius Roets, Principal Warfare Officer SAS Isandlwana; Captain Dieter Jones, Project Officer: Project Syne; and Captain Theuns van Niekerk, Assistant Project Officer: Project Syne. (Project Syne is for the upgrade of the SA Navy’s four Valour class Meko frigates.)

The demonstration aimed to strengthen partnerships and foster a collaborative approach to addressing the evolving challenges in local maritime security, Hensoldt said. “The advanced surveillance capabilities of the Quadome can play a pivotal role in enhancing maritime security and safeguarding critical interests, aligning with the SA Navy’s vision of being unchallenged at sea and using information to achieve mission success.”

Protecting vital resources and safeguarding the maritime economy in South Africa, spanning a 3 000 km coastline, make advanced technologies such as the Quadome essential for success, Hensoldt continued. “In addition to targeting the local market, Hensoldt South Africa expects to generate significant foreign direct investment by leveraging the Hensoldt Group’s international sales channels, exporting the system to customers worldwide.”

The radar will undergo extensive evaluation and sea trials to demonstrate system performance and environmental requirements, with initial production deliveries scheduled for the second half of 2025.

Hensoldt South Africa mainly specialises in optronics and spectrum dominance solutions, but in late 2021 launched the Quadome active electronically scanned array (AESA) surveillance radar, aimed at naval, land and air applications. It can be used for air and surface surveillance as well as target acquisition.

The result of one of the largest radar development programmes in South Africa in recent history, the Quadome has a range from 100 metres to 200 km and can process more than 1 000 air and surface targets.

Development of the new naval radar began in late 2019 and expanded with the launch of the Quadome Radar Development programme in close collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and key South African suppliers of defence electronics. As Quadome uses only local intellectual property, it is not subject to foreign export control.

“Quadome is designed to maximise system performance, while minimising acquisition and life-cycle costs,” said Langenhoven.

“The system’s compact size and excellent price-performance ratio make it ideally suited for offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), corvettes, light frigates and support vessels. Its affordability and performance make it a compelling choice for maritime security operations, providing 3D air surveillance and air defence capabilities to vessels that may otherwise only have been fitted with 2D target-detection capability. Quadome is software-defined, allowing adaptation to the changing operational environment, and offers a predictive maintenance approach by synchronising maintenance activities with port visits, thus extending its operational lifetime,” Hensoldt added.

The Quadome Land version, officially launched at Africa Aerospace and Defence in September 2022, can fit inside a standard 20 foot ISO shipping container, making it highly portable. This gives a ‘radar in a box’ capability as it is completely self-contained, and it can be transported in a C-130 Hercules or similar aircraft. It has its own electric and hydraulic power for self-deployment, which takes 15 minutes.

Hensoldt South Africa’s radar business unit specialises in radar, identification friend or foe (IFF) and datalinks, as well as air traffic management (ATM) and radar services. The business was launched in January 2021 after Hensoldt South Africa acquired the Air Traffic Management (ATM) and Defence & Security business units of Tellumat at the end of 2020.