Hensoldt South Africa launches new radar business

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Sensor solutions house Hensoldt South Africa has launched its new radar business after acquiring the air traffic management (ATM) and defence & security business units of Tellumat at the end of 2020. Together with the company’s existing radar and other capabilities, these business lines are integrated to form the radar business unit of Hensoldt South Africa.

The acquired activities represent an extensive portfolio, more than 50 years of expertise in the defence electronics landscape and a workforce of over 100 employees. “With the integration of the Tellumat defence & security and ATM business units into Hensoldt South Africa, we are now representing the three major sensor solution business lines of the Hensoldt Group here in South Africa,” says Rynier van der Watt, Managing Director of Hensoldt South Africa. “Expanding from optronics and spectrum dominance to now also include radar, identification friend or foe (IFF) and datalinks therefore creating a complete sensor solutions offering,” says Van der Watt.

Through this acquisition, Hensoldt South Africa’s capabilities are expanded with a new portfolio area, centring around radar, IFF and datalinks. The radar offering focuses on naval and land radar, which will include leading-edge new development in this product range. Identification friend or foe (IFF) and datalinks will also be offered, where Hensoldt is inheriting a world-class product range that it aims to enhance even further. Finally, air traffic management (ATM) and radar services become part of the overall portfolio, with the aim of expanding the ATM services and developing existing radar support services into full-blown maintenance, repair and operations (MRO).

Heading up these activities is Bennie Langenhoven, Chief Executive of the Radar Business Unit, previously the head of Tellumat’s ATM business unit. “Launching the Radar Business Unit of Hensoldt South Africa is a strategic expansion of Hensoldt’s radar business with the goal to become the leading manufacturer and exporter of air-surveillance and defence radars on the African continent,” says Langenhoven.

The South African radar capability will integrate with and expand on the Group’s existing radar products. “Our long track record in the maintenance, repair and operation of radar systems puts us in a very good position to not only support the Group’s radar portfolio, but also those of our partners and OEMs, including legacy systems,” says Langenhoven. In addition to providing the latest radar technology, Hensoldt South Africa also offers midlife upgrades to extend the life of existing radar systems, especially in cases where budget constraints limit or prevent the acquisition of new radars.

The acquisition also gives rise to strong synergies between Hensoldt South Africa’s Radar, Optronics and GEW business units, with collaboration envisioned on various fronts. The ASTUS tactical surveillance unmanned aerial system (UAS), previously part of the Defence & Security business unit in Tellumat, is being integrated into Hensoldt South Africa’s optronics portfolio as part of the company’s strong airborne capability. The ASTUS’ exceptional product offering, combined with Hensoldt’s design, manufacturing and certification competency, gives ASTUS the opportunity to become a world-class product and game changer in the market.

Through its optronics and GEW business units, Hensoldt South Africa has already achieved significant success as a sensor solutions house in the world market, delivering more than 55 products into 40 export countries, with a combined heritage of 70 years. Hensoldt South Africa now increases its portfolio to more than 60 products, exported to over 43 countries.

Hensoldt South Africa aims to be a leader in driving innovation and fostering local capability and expertise. To further expand its technical capability in South Africa, “the Radar business unit will also become the custodian of the Hensoldt South Africa engineering hub, where we will be incubating new radar products to support the Hensoldt Group,” says Van der Watt.

The Hensoldt Group is expanding its radar product portfolio through the development of a next generation air defence radar product range in Hensoldt South Africa. “This development marks the first time that a new Hensoldt tactical air defence radar for land and sea is developed outside Germany,” says Erwin Paulus, head of Hensoldt’s Radar Division. “The opening of the Hensoldt radar business unit in South Africa is of high strategic importance to continue our efforts to further internationalise the Hensoldt Radar Business,” says Paulus.

The company is pleased that this development will also contribute to the country’s wider technical and defence industry, as well as the growth of the economy. “Partnerships with local industry players are currently one of our focus areas,” says Langenhoven. “These partnerships aligns well with Hensoldt South Africa’s strategy to maintain strong relationships with suppliers and local OEMs,” continues Langenhoven.



With an extensive portfolio representing all Hensoldt’s major business lines, five sites in South Africa and now employing a workforce of more than 700 employees, Hensoldt South Africa is the Group’s biggest industrial footprint outside Europe. Therefore, this expansion strategy is central to Hensoldt’s vision to become the leading, platform-independent provider of defence and security sensor solutions worldwide.