Hensoldt launches GEW Skylark-N for naval surveillance

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Hensoldt South Africa’s GEW business unit has launched a new electronic support measures (ESM) system for use on naval surface vessels. The launch took place at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2022 exhibition in Pretoria on 23 September.

GEW’s Skylark-N is designed for communications surveillance, emitter tracking and monitoring on smaller to midsize naval craft, such as Offshore Patrol Vessels.

Hensoldt said the system was recently put into service by several customers, but did not identify them. Earlier this year the SA Navy took delivery of the first of three in-shore patrol vessels built under Project Biro, the size of vessel which Hensoldt said would be suited to use of the Skylark system.

The system detects, locates, identifies and tracks radio emissions in the HF, VHF and UHF frequency bands, providing wide band monitoring of possible naval targets. Hensoldt said the system has exceptional sensitivity due to the use of advanced digital processing and direction finding algorithms. At the system’s core is the EW MRD7090 compact spectrum monitoring and direction finding system.

Hensoldt said the Skylark-N system is rugged, lightweight and low in power consumption. It can be installed on new ships, but a refit of a vessel is not required for its placement on existing naval platforms. Skylark-N can operate on a standalone basis, and can be integrated into existing on-board combat management systems. This would allow the automatic aiming of weapons at the targets Skylark-N acquires.

Skylark can be integrated into other Hensoldt solutions such as Hensoldt’s Quadome radar system for naval and target acquisition that was launched at the Defence Services Exhibition International (DSEI) in London last year.