Hensoldt receives Spexer radar orders from Middle East North Africa region


Hensoldt, formerly the electronics business unit of Airbus Defence and Space, has sold 50 Spexer 2000 ground surveillance radars to countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in deals worth €40 million.

The company earlier this month said the sales all came during 2017.

Thomas Müller, the CEO of Hensoldt, explained: “Spexer 2000 is based on the latest AESA [active electronically scanned array] technology with electronic beam scanning. This means that several operating modes or radar missions are possible at the same time, dramatically increasing the radar’s detection capabilities. As a result, one Spexer radar can replace several conventional radar systems.”

A total of approximately 150 Spexer radar systems have so far been deployed or are under contract worldwide. These have spent more than 1.7 million hours in operation and are used for tasks such as border and coastal surveillance, the protection of critical infrastructure or in military battlefield surveillance.

The original military version of the radar was developed for the German Army.

Cassidian, as it then was, demonstrated the Spexer 2000 radar to potential defence and civil security customers in Africa in 2012. The system was demonstrated in Pretoria as part of efforts to make defence forces and security agencies aware of the system, as well as to the South African National Defence Force on the border with Mozambique. It has also been showcased in Cape Town and at Coega in Port Elizabeth, for harbour monitoring and for monitoring ships at anchor.

The Spexer 2000 comes in two similar versions: one optimised for land border surveillance and the other (Spexer 2000 Coastal) optimised for coastal surveillance. The radar has an instrumented range of 40 kilometres, and can detect swimmers and other small objects out to 1 km. For border surveillance the radar can pick up vehicles, pedestrians and low flying aircraft.

Due to the X-band unit’s high Doppler and velocity resolution as well as its high sea clutter suppression, it is able to detect, track and classify even very small and slowly moving objects, such as rubber dinghies, as well as fast objects such as speedboats. However, the Spexer 2000 is able to detect low flying aircraft as well.

Because the radar is electronically scanned, it covers a 120 degree sector without moving, but can physically rotate 360 degrees on its mounting for further coverage. A camera mounted on top of the radar can be cued to the radar in order to identify suspicious objects.

Alarm zones can be programmed into the radar, alerting the operator when an object is detected within a zone so that the operator does not have to continuously monitor radar readings, which can be displayed on an ordinary commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) computer system.

The radar is man-portable by two persons (and can be assembled within 20 minutes), enabling also temporary installations on a tripod. No cabinets and shelters are necessary as the radar is weather-proof and can withstand submersion in 1 metre of water. Optionally, it can be equipped with an air-conditioned radome to protect against extreme climatic conditions (e.g. extreme temperature, solar radiation or sand storms).

The Spexer 2000 forms part of the Spexer range, which starts with the Spexer 10, with a range of 100 metres, through the Spexer 500, Spexer 1000 (range 18 km), Spexer 1500 and Spexer 2000.