Ulm site - from custom manufacturing shop to series production facility
Growth and series production – this is the principle by
which HENSOLDT has completely transformed radar production at its Ulm site, moving from a focus on
individual projects with sometimes extremely small quantities to standardised series production. As
a result, output has multiplied and customer waiting times have been slashed.
When Henry Ford introduced the assembly line and
revolutionised automotive production in 1913, business flourished. The car became a mass product
and series production a synonym for productivity.
HENSOLDT has also made the shift to series production.
For a manufacturer of highly sensitive high-tech products, this is necessarily quite different
to mass production in the automotive sector. However, converting the four main products in the
radar sector from laborious single-piece production to an assembly line setup still represents
a massive step towards industrial-scale manufacturing for HENSOLDT, too.
Global growth means more for HENSOLDT than simply breaking into new markets, developing new
products and acquiring companies. The strategy also includes integrating new products into the
current portfolio and then standardising them.
In recent years, for example, the four main products in the radar area – TRML-4D (ground) and
TRS-4D (naval) air surveillance systems, Spexer 2000 ground surveillance radar and ASR airport
surveillance radar – have been gradually consolidated within product families with a common
product core and prepared for series production. Eurofighter radar antennas are also to be
produced in larger quantities in series production in the future.
Hall 31 – synonymous with productivity
Sounds simple, but it is not. After all, the new manufacturing concept involves much more than
just production in series. Future products also have to be designed with a view to possible
series production and the sales team has to deliver the forecasts and obtain the orders needed
for the envisaged production rates. Then there is production itself. Logistics and storage
measures defined by employees in working groups so as to ensure the flow of materials also have
to be implemented and adjustments or even fundamental changes to work processes are
In this context, our hall 31 in Ulm was extensively reconfigured – now encompassing a floor space
of around 2,100 square metres, this is one of HENSOLDT’s largest production buildings at its Ulm
site. Everything was in place by early 2019: jobs that had previously involved activities across
the entire site were consolidated and reorganised based on a process developed by the employees
themselves. Series production could begin.
Higher quantities – shorter waiting times
The benefits are already fully clear. A new Spexer 2000 leaves the factory every week,
manufacturing of the TRS-4D has increased significantly and series production of the new TRML-4D
Progress is also being made in preparing series production of the new Eurofighter radar. A total
of 30,000 transmit-and-receive modules alone, main components of the Eurofighter radar antenna,
are expected to be produced per year in the future. All in all, our target is that up to 100
complete radar systems will leave the new series production facility each year over the next few
years – an impressive rise in production volume.
Thanks to the modular design, the radars can also be customised more quickly and we aim to thus
cut customer waiting times notably. While the lead time for an ATC radar was previously several
months from order placement, we now work towards beginning acceptance testing with the customer
and to deliver radars as soon as possible after the integration.
But this is only the beginning. Over the coming years, HENSOLDT intends to
extend series production to include other sensor product areas as well. In this way, this
high-tech custom manufacturer is gradually being transformed into a high-tech series
The four main products
France has always been one of HENSOLDT’s key markets. The
acquisition of NEXEYA, the French expert in aviation, defence, energy and transportation
electronics, bundles know-how and sustainably strengthens HENSOLDT’s market position even beyond
If two partners simply match. If they share the same
values and have a common customer and partner base. And if, moreover, their products have not
previously competed with one other, but rather complemented each other. Then you could speak of
a ‘perfect marriage’. And this is exactly what has taken place between HENSOLDT and NEXEYA.
Five sectors – one common goal
Since its foundation in 1997, then named Eurilogic, NEXEYA has developed into a respected
specialist in electronic security solutions, both in the non-defence and defence sectors, and
consistently grown even beyond the borders of France. Its current focus is on aviation, defence,
energy conversion, electrical installation safety and transport.
HENSOLDT’s acquisition has created a new heavyweight in the high-revenue French market. Together,
the two companies intend to significantly expand their industrial and technological base in the
defence and non-defence sectors. New, innovative solutions are to be developed, significant
growth to be achieved in the midterm and customer demands to be met to the best possible
HENSOLDT is setting up a new competence centre for the whole group in France that will also
contribute to this. Its focus will be on Command and Control/Combat Management Systems (C2/CMS),
robust onboard systems and test benches, mainly hydrogen-based solutions for energy supply
optimisation and electronics maintenance.
After the NEXEYA transaction, the new HENSOLDT Holding France is made up of HENSOLDT France and
NEXEYA France. They share operational business in two new operational units: ‘Défense et
Sécurité’ (defence and security) and ‘Aerospace et Systèmes Civils’ (aerospace and civil
NEXEYA system and service solutions and HENSOLDT sensors together with the complementary
know-how and size of both companies will make it easier to enter new markets, develop
comprehensive solutions for customers worldwide and explore new business areas.
Focus on the customer
From the outset, it has been written
into NEXEYA’s DNA to provide innovative solutions with high value for the customer. Currently, the
focus is on the following areas:
NEXEYA develops and markets products for testing avionic and electrical networks (validation,
integration, fault location), special tools for production lines and on-board power conversion
equipment, from prototypes through to the operation and maintenance phases of civilian and
With its LYNCEA (ship-based battle management systems) and ARGOSIA (airborne systems for command
and control of maritime surveillance and ISR missions) mission management systems, NEXEYA
perfectly complements HENSOLDT’s identification systems (IFF) and datalinks for the defence
NEXEYA develops and produces systems that manage, store and supply hydrogen-based electricity
from renewable energy sources in line with the energy policy requirements of our time. The
energy conversion technologies in particular can even be integrated into existing HENSOLDT
products to increase their performance (see chapter HENSOLDT innovations: Energy – anytime and
Safety of installations
With digital control systems, data acquisition and monitoring systems, high-performance power
supply systems and modular power supply solutions, NEXEYA meets nuclear safety standards and
ensures the safety of electrical installations.
From trams and subways to high-speed trains, NEXEYA’s train control and electrical distribution
systems increase transportation reliability and safety. In addition, the company develops
integrated solutions and energy conversion products in the automotive sector for the electric
and autonomous e-mobility of the future.
A new chapter begins
HENSOLDT UK was established following the acquisition of Kelvin Hughes,
a long-standing British company, in 2017. All of HENSOLDT’s activities in the United Kingdom are now
consolidated under this brand and all of the products in HENSOLDT’s portfolio can be offered in the
UK market by a local company, for example to the Ministry of Defence and others. This has opened up
new business opportunities.
Tradition is writ large at the UK radar manufacturer
Kelvin Hughes. After all, the company has been in existence since the 18th century and its
products have included sextants and marine chronometers. The first commercial radar was produced
in 1948 based on technology developed during World War II. The company began supplying radars to
navies around the world in the late sixties. Since then, Kelvin Hughes has equipped over 30
navies all over the world with state-of-the-art radar technology. A new chapter in the company’s
eventful history began in 2017 through its acquisition by HENSOLDT and renaming as HENSOLDT
From the UK for the global market
The establishment of HENSOLDT UK means more than the proverbial killing of two birds with one
stone. The integration of Kelvin Hughes into HENSOLDT allows for mutual exchange of products and
customers. This means that Kelvin Hughes’ costeffective and yet highquality product range can
now also be offered to existing HENSOLDT customers. At the same time, HENSOLDT has gained access
to former Kelvin Hughes customers, including the UK Ministry of Defence. And, with the Kelvin
Hughes site in Enfield, HENSOLDT is expanding its industrial presence in the UK, and thereby
strengthening another important and strategic key market and opening up new business
Integration into the HENSOLDT family
While processes and procedures were aligned and mainly replaced by those of HENSOLDT in the
initial integration phase, product and system integration has now begun. This involves reaping
synergies in relation to the Xpeller counter-UAV activities and integrating the battle
management systems of NEXEYA acquired in France, which are to be further developed together with
those of HENSOLDT UK.
HENSOLDT UK’s products have been divided into two lines – Security Solutions
and SharpEye Radar. Both will now be integrated into HENSOLDT’s IFF radar product line.
“We are expanding in the UK and merging our existing product
range with the Kelvin Hughes offering. This will allow us to create complex system solutions
that will significantly drive our business in this market.”
Thomas Müller, CEO HENSOLDT
“Kelvin Hughes and HENSOLDT have shaped the
radar market for seven decades. By consolidating our products under one brand name, we are
increasing our visibility in the market and opening up new business opportunities.”
Russell Gould, Managing Director HENSOLDT UK
1 plus 1 equals more than 2
More than 70 years of experience, over 600 South African
employees, two exceptional local business units and one global market – GEW and Optronics merged
under the new HENSOLDT South Africa (SA) brand in 2019 and will embark on a shared success story
Sometimes you need to leave your comfort zone in order
to start a new chapter and confound the mathematics. So it was with HENSOLDT in South Africa
last year. GEW and Optronics, two companies rooted in the local market for decades, have
established a joint organisation under the new HENSOLDT SA brand. And one plus one equals more
than two in this instance: the joint venture gives HENSOLDT an even higher profile in the South
African and other African markets, while at the same time the global market for defence and
security solutions is now also benefiting from the expertise of a new global player based in
A look back
GEW in Pretoria has been considered a technology pioneer in innovative signal processing,
spectrum management, and security products and systems for more than 50 years. Surveillance and
direction finding, electronic countermeasures and frequency management applications developed
and produced inhouse by GEW protect civilians, armed forces and infrastructure far beyond South
HENSOLDT Optronics founded this South African subsidiary in Irene more than two decades ago,
which has focused ever since on the development of airborne targeting and surveillance solutions
for defence and security applications. Helmet displays for pilots, laser rangefinders and parts
of HENSOLDT’s submarine periscopes are also produced in South Africa.
Officially operating within one joint organisation since September 2019, the employees of both
formerly independent organisations have had an eventful time as HENSOLDT SA within a very short
period. While both business units work independently within HENSOLDT’s Spectrum Dominance &
Airborne Solutions and Optronics divisions, they are building a vibrant new organisational
culture as a united HENSOLDT team.
A look ahead
HENSOLDT SA is expanding its position as a heavyweight in the national and international market
for defence and security authorities with applications for ships, submarines, ground vehicles,
helicopters and jets. The company plans to now extend the business of the two business units
Optronics (part of the HENSOLDT Optronics division) and GEW (part of the HENSOLDT Spectrum
Dominance & Airborne Solutions division). This includes expanding HENSOLDT’s Radar, IFF & COMMS
division by establishing a dedicated business unit in South Africa, with the goal to make
HENSOLDT SA the leading South African provider of sensor solutions.
With additional investment and the creation of development, service and sales
jobs, the company plans to tap into new markets from South Africa in the future. As part of its
overall strategy, HENSOLDT SA wants to establish itself as a strong brand and become the leading
provider of defence electronics solutions and products in South Africa and beyond.
HENSOLDT South Africa portfolio
MENA - challenge south of the Mediterranean
The Middle East and North Africa, or MENA for short, has often
witnessed and is still facing certain security challenges. Proven and new partnerships are opening
up opportunities for HENSOLDT to develop its business activities there.
With its own offices in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and
HENSOLDT’s activities in the Middle East are currently focused on sales. Despite a strongly
competitive environment, ministries of defence and the interior in the different countries rely
the quality of various HENSOLDT solutions to protect their national interests, the security of
infrastructure and the safety of their populations.
In particular, the electronic warfare and security
systems of GEW, which has been part of the new HENSOLDT South Africa since 2019, have enjoyed a
good reputation in the region for many years. There is also major interest in almost all of the
HENSOLDT Group’s product portfolio, especially the company’s latest technology.
Cooperation, partnerships and joint
ventures are expected to ensure the necessary local presence in the years ahead.
Algeria borders Niger, where the jihadist terrorist group Boko Haram is still causing unrest. The German Foreign Office has expressly warned against travel to Niger. In order to contain weapon and people smuggling in particular, we at HENSOLDT support Algeria in border security.
Vehicles, pedestrians or low-flying objects are automatically detected and can be observed day and night.
Networked via software, the radar, optronics and radio systems involved offer an integrated solution for protecting large swathes of Algeria’s border.
Successful start in North Africa
The joint venture set up in Algeria in 2014 is one shining example of this. HENSOLDT indirectly
holds 49 per cent of this joint venture, SCAFSE (Société Commune Algérienne de Fabrication de
Systèmes Électroniques), while other shares are held by an Algerian stateowned company and a
local computer company. The joint venture has enabled HENSOLDT to set up its own production
facility in Algeria. The products manufactured there are making an important contribution to
maintaining security in the region as Algeria is considered an anchor of stability in the
This means that a partnership that benefits all parties involved has developed in the best spirit
of a joint venture. HENSOLDT has gained access to the market and already generated a substantial
revenue with radars and optronics over the years. In return, Algeria has obtained urgently
needed expertise and thus can train local employees and secure its own borders (see box: Secure
New joint venture in Saudi Arabia
The activities in Algeria thereby provide an almost perfect blueprint for another joint venture
currently in the pipeline in Saudi Arabia. HENSOLDT signed a memorandum of understanding with
the stateowned company SAMI (Saudi Arabian Military Industries) regarding this in December
2018. As part of Vision 2030, established by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and
published in 2017, one of SAMI’s objectives is to facilitate local manufacturing and development
by foreign companies.
To simplify matters, HENSOLDT plans to establish the joint venture in 2020 with 49 per cent of
the equity interests being held by HENSOLDT South Africa. Orders will then be won and executed
using the knowledge transferred on a step-by-step basis. Some of the negotiations regarding the
products and systems that might initially be brought into the joint venture are already nearing
Further expansion planned
And that is just the beginning. In the medium term, HENSOLDT also plans to establish its own
subsidiary in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, Pakistan is on the list of countries in which the
company plans to open a site.
After all, HENSOLDT products are not only well known in the MENA region but are also highly
valued for their technology and quality.
"Yes we can"
With the foundation of the US subsidiary HENSOLDT Inc. in
Virginia, HENSOLDT is on track to expand in the US as well.
The US defence market is the largest in the world.
Controlled from the Pentagon in Washington, DC, it accounts for approximately 60 per cent of
global defence spending. HENSOLDT Inc., operating under a Special Security Agreement, gives
HENSOLDT increased access to highly protected US military forces and authorities in an exciting
and new way. Through HENSOLDT Inc., the US military now has the opportunity to acquire HENSOLDT
products and learn more about the company’s exceptional engineering expertise.
The first step is always the hardest
Strict procurement and security rules had proven the biggest obstacle to date to HENSOLDT gaining
access to the US market as a non-US company. The HENSOLDT Group has thus invested a great deal
in establishing HENSOLDT Inc., and with Ken Loy as CEO and a Board of Directors based in the US,
it can now cooperate directly with US customers on strictly regulated and secret programmes. As
a subsidiary of the HENSOLDT Group, HENSOLDT Inc. complies with the parent company’s policies
and procedures and works closely together with its Sales, Production and Customer Services
units. Colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic have worked hard to establish HENSOLDT Inc. by
setting up new cooperation practices and meeting the US regulatory requirements.
The situation looks good
HENSOLDT has already been able to make an initial name for itself in the US with the delivery of
the TRS-3D radar to the US Coast Guard and the TRS-4D radar to the Lockheed Martin defence
company and the US Navy. Nevertheless, it plans to further increase awareness and hone its brand
profile. In addition to the company’s new US website, online since 2019, its presence at major
trade fairs and exhibitions in North America is also contributing to this. For example, HENSOLDT
Inc. was represented at Canada’s global defence and security trade show CANSEC, the National
Symposium of the SNA (Surface Navy Association), the Heli-Expo and SOFIC (Special Operations
Forces Industry Conference). Moreover, HENSOLDT Inc. has presented TwInvis to the US Federal
Aviation Administration, expanded the LCS and NSC programmes, forged new connections with the
offices of the Army’s ground vehicle programmes and expanded its relationships with key US
partners in the areas of air traffic management and security solutions and in aviation
For 2020, additional campaigns for individual product groups are planned,
which will aim to increase awareness of HENSOLDT’s comprehensive portfolio.
The US Department of Defense has shown interest in HENSOLDT’s ‘Detect and Protect’ solutions in
the past and various ties have already been established:
Both the US Army and United States Marine Corps have successfully field tested the ELRF
eye-safe laser rangefinder in the M1 Abrams main battle tank. Designated ‘M1 ELRF’, this system
can replace all previous laser rangefinders used in the M1 Abrams.
Discussions are also ongoing with the US Army regarding the MUSS multifunctional
self-protection system for tanks. It uses various sensors to warn of anti-tank guided missiles
and laser-guided munitions while automatically initiating the necessary countermeasures. Already
integrated into 300 Puma infantry fighting vehicles of the German Armed Forces, the
sophisticated and proven system is now to be further developed to meet US Army requirements.
Moreover, the US Department of Defense, the US Department of Homeland Security and the US
Federal Aviation Administration have also shown some interest in the innovative TwInvis passive
radar. It cannot be located as it does not transmit any signals itself, but instead uses
reflections from existing VHF and UHF signals to detect targets. This makes it perfect for
covert surveillance tasks.
The course is set
Working closely with colleagues throughout the entire HENSOLDT Group, the
HENSOLDT Inc. team will expand its own engineering expertise and manufacturing capabilities so
that it can deliver products tailored to customers in the US. For the year ahead, the course is
set for further successful cooperation between the company’s teams following the idea of ‘ONE
Tapping into new markets
With its complex set of challenges in relation to the protection
of its countries, citizens, infrastructure and nature, Latin America is considered one of the most
promising markets for security solutions of all kinds. Initial outlines are now being added to this
previously blank spot on HENSOLDT’s map.
Numerous people become victims of drug dealers. The
Amazon rainforest has been on fire for several weeks. Human trafficking is an extremely
profitable business. Thousands of kilometres of borders are largely unsecured. The list could be
easily continued as Latin America has a massive security problem. This represents a huge market
opportunity for products from the HENSOLDT Group (currently with a local presence in Chile,
Mexico and Brazil), which intends to significantly expand its business in the region in the
A new brand for a booming market
Defence and security forces of many nations rely on HENSOLDT security solutions to protect people
and infrastructure. Innovative and agile, with experience on major projects, the company is
considered the ideal partner in many places. Only in Latin America, far away from the production
centres in Europe, is HENSOLDT still relatively unknown. This is set to change soon thanks to
new partnerships, a presence at local trade fairs, targeted marketing and lots of
Initial steps taken
The company has already enjoyed some initial success. The Chilean Navy has just acquired
HENSOLDT’s latest TRS-4D radar. And the Brazilian Army has purchased various electronic warfare
products. But HENSOLDT’s team in Latin America still has a long way to go. After all, each
country faces its own unique challenges, ranging from everyday street crime in many places and
public protection through to border control.
Seizing the opportunities
The HENSOLDT portfolio has solutions for almost all of these problems. The latest sensor
technology, Xpeller counter-UAV systems, ground and naval radar devices and surveillance
optronics products can be used to effectively combat drug, weapon and human trafficking and
strengthen security across the entire region. HENSOLDT can offer state-of-the-art land, sea, air
and security solutions for the defence upgrades planned in several countries. Besides additional
opportunities in the booming security business, there is also big potential in the defence
segment, especially among naval forces. For example, HENSOLDT offers important surface and
subsurface solutions with its periscopes.
Hence, HENSOLDT is pursuing a clearly defined growth strategy in Latin
America. The company plans to gradually extend its presence to the focus markets of Brazil,
Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru. For example, it intends to build partnerships that will enable
local production, better establishment of the brand and further expansion of the business. One
thing is clear: Latin America needs the security that HENSOLDT products can afford.
Asia-Pacific - goal of considerable revenue growth
The Asia-Pacific region, or APAC for short, currently accounts
for two thirds of global growth. Even leaving out China, it still covers more than one sixth of
global defence spending. That is why the HENSOLDT office in Singapore has set its sights on
One key feature of the APAC region is its
heterogeneity. Each country has its own cultural and social norms that affect how business is
done. People from other countries are treated with respect, but also some degree of mistrust
initially. Therefore, awareness, image and a local presence are crucial to success.
HENSOLDT recognised this early on. Starting in the
four countries with the highest defence spending in the region – Japan, South Korea, India and
Australia – the company plans to develop its customer proximity country by country over the
coming years. The foundations for success have already been laid, as German engineering skills
are highly valued in the region.
Singapore – where everything converges
HENSOLDT manages all activities in the region out of its central sales office in Singapore opened
in early 2018 in the premises of the British radar specialist Kelvin Hughes, which had been
acquired a year earlier. Serving as the link between colleagues in Germany and France and the
other APAC offices, this is where priorities are set and new business opportunities are
developed, initiated and implemented.
In addition to building further on the already good connections established in Singapore, this
mainly means one thing for local HENSOLDT colleagues: travel. Face-to-face meetings and
discussions with main contractors, partners, customers and users are required to create the
basis for future business.
Japan – HENSOLDT representation planned
HENSOLDT has no representation in Japan yet. The emphasis is on ‘yet’, however, as the company
plans to open an office there in 2020 already. Moreover, access to the market should be made
easier through cooperation with a local defence company. Japan offers great potential for
HENSOLDT, not least through the potential replacement of the 3D radar frequently found there
with HENSOLDT’s innovative 4D systems.
India and South Korea – spirits high thanks to new
India and South Korea are among the countries in which HENSOLDT has already been able to leave
its initial footprint as a sensor supplier with its predecessor companies and Kelvin Hughes.
Radar devices, self-defence systems and optronics equipment are successfully in use, often for
many years at this stage. In the non-defence segment, HENSOLDT is also a leading supplier of
train simulators for train drivers in India.
Recent orders for submarine optronics from India and Taiwan as well as further potential orders
in the pipeline from South Korea prove the success of the approach taken.
Australia – all signs point to growth
The acquisition of an Australian provider of radars and services which is active throughout the
entire APAC region marks the dawn of a new era on the fifth continent. Based in the capital,
Canberra, the unit now operating under the name HENSOLDT Australia offers proximity to
government agencies there. The radar system monitoring and management services already offered
by the acquired company have opened up an additional business area. In addition to conventional
radar maintenance, ongoing system optimisation is the focus. This is a unique selling
proposition that HENSOLDT intends to integrate into its global business going forward.
Furthermore, HENSOLDT already received an order from the Royal Australian Air
Force in mid 2015 for the installation of nine air traffic control radar systems and
surveillance of all Australian airspace. Installation of these systems has now begun.
The goal: considerable revenue growth
HENSOLDT generated around seven per cent
of its total revenue in the APAC region in 2019. Air traffic control radar and coastal
surveillance offer particularly promising business opportunities to build up on. The
establishment of service capacities – also in cooperation with third parties – is expected to
generate further revenue and increase customer proximity as well. In addition to the top four
markets, the focus is also on countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam,
Thailand, Philippines and Taiwan.