Quadome and Skylark-N part of Hensoldt integrated naval solution


Hensoldt South Africa is aiming to enlarge its naval business with its Quadome radar and Skylark-N electronic surveillance, tracking and monitoring solution and has emphasised that its Quadome naval radar, and others, can be integrated into its Skylark-N naval communications surveillance solution.

Quadome and Skylark-N are aimed at the small to mid-size offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), corvettes, and frigates. The South African Navy has four frigates and recently acquired the first of three in-shore patrol vessels.

Hensoldt South Africa launched its Quadome naval radar at the DSEI show in London last year, and the land variant at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition in Pretoria in September.

The Quadome radar offers a 3D air and surface surveillance and defence capability to navies with constrained budgets, that would previously have had only the choice of a 2D system. The company describes Quadome as a “very affordable radar with a second-to-none price-performance ratio”.

It is an active electronically scanned array (AESA) surveillance type radar with a range of 100 metres to 200 km, that can process more than 1 000 air and surface targets simultaneously. It allows the detection and tracking of small, slow, and fast air targets for a reliable picture of the battle space. For example, it can detect and track fast moving aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles and sea skimming missiles, and offer support for gunfire and helicopters.

As Quadome is a software-defined radar, obsolescence is reduced as the operating system code can be upgraded.

Hensoldt collaborated closely with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the government’s technology development house, in the development of Quadome. Since work began on Quadome with 40 engineers in 2018, it has been the largest defence radar project in the country.

The Skylark-N, launched at AAD 2022 by Hensoldt business unit GEW, provides simultaneous wideband monitoring and direction finding in a compact, naval qualified and rugged design. It has just entered service with several customers.

“The addition of the Skylark-N to Hensoldt’s naval portfolio strengthens the company’s position as a solutions provider for multi-spectrum operations”, said Rynier van der Watt, Managing Director of Hensoldt South Africa.

At the core of the solution is Hensoldt’s field-proven GEW MRD7090 compact spectrum monitoring and direction finding system. Offering fast scanning, high-accuracy wideband direction finding with simultaneous monitoring, complemented by Hensoldt’s advanced signal classification, analysis and decoding capabilities and an easy-to-use intuitive user interface, the Skylark-N provides a turnkey surveillance solution that can be operated stand-alone or fully integrated into the vessel’s combat management system, Hensoldt South Africa said.

“With exceptional sensitivity, using advanced digital processing and direction finding algorithms, the system detects, locates, identifies and tracks radio emissions in the HF, VHF and UHF frequency bands, providing naval forces and maritime security authorities with unprecedented situational awareness of the radio frequency spectrum and naval targets in the area,” the company added.

Hensoldt is offering a range of solutions for offshore patrol vessels that can facilitate missions such as exclusive economic zone (EEZ) protection, search and rescue, disaster relief, counter mine warfare, logistics operations, counter-piracy etc. It offers various capabilities covering radar (Quadome and SharpEye), electronic warfare (Skylark-N), electro-optical, bridge systems, combat management systems (LYNCEA), and degaussing systems (MASK), amongst others. Outside its portfolio, Hensoldt offers communications suites, mine warfare suites, and hard kill effectors.