A New Reputation

How Zeitenwende
changed the perception

After the end of the Cold War, the defence industry was often viewed critically, especially in HENSOLDT’s home market of Germany. Now, however, there has been a fundamental shift, not only in public perception, but also in the self-perception of the employees.

“Defence company HENSOLDT on the upswing”, was one of the newspaper headlines (Süddeutsche Zeitung) praising the company in February. “Defence company HENSOLDT is already considered the jewel in Germany’s military technology crown,” wrote Die WELT in November.

The industry had been under scrutiny for decades. But then Russia’s attack on Ukraine marked a turning point in the public’s perception of the defence industry. HENSOLDT employees have noticed this change not only in discussions with family and friends, but also in their daily work: they now see an even more powerful, deeper meaning in what they do.

Rise in HENSOLDT’s Reputation

“HENSOLDT systems protect our soldiers who defend our values every day. The war in Ukraine has painfully confirmed this view. Even in Germany, there doesn’t seem to be great resistance to the defence industry anymore. I suddenly see articles about HENSOLDT or other companies on TV and in major newspapers, which was not the case before. And if even the German Chancellor visits us, this underlines the current importance of our industry.

I have also noticed in my personal environment that many more are now aware of HENSOLDT and what we do. This shows how our company’s reputation has developed in recent months. When I first started working at HENSOLDT six years ago, most people didn’t even know the name.”

Tim Betzler started his dual studies as an industrial engineer at the HENSOLDT site in Oberkochen in 2017. After successfully completing his studies, he is now a Supply Chain Manager with co-responsibility for the coordination of FCO (Fulfil Customer Order) and S&OP (Sales & Operations Planning), among others.

photo of Tim Betzler

Ready for When a Threat Becomes Reality

“Of course, it occurred to me that in the bigger picture, what we are developing could be used to harm other people. And I asked myself if I am comfortable with this. But the decisive word is “defence”! We all need to be able to protect ourselves and our families, because to be defenceless in the world we live in is just foolish.

Looking at the devastation in Syria and Ukraine makes it quite clear that no matter how safe, stable, and predictable life may seem – the fragility of life can be exposed very quickly. This made me realise again how important it is to be prepared should any threat become a reality.”

Andrew Davidson began his career at Kelvin Hughes at the site in Enfield, UK, over thirty years ago, progressing from wireman to his current role as Production Test Lead. In this position, he is responsible for co-ordinating the tasks of colleagues in the factory, to ensure that our UK radars meet all quality requirements.

photo of Andrew Davidson

Part of an Important Industry

“Especially with the tragic war in Ukraine, the concrete need for defence electronics, and the constant support of the German government, my positive feeling and the pride in being part of such an important industry has grown significantly.

Of course, from time to time I get some negative feedback regarding my job. For some people, defence equals military, and military equals war. But most of the people in my personal environment understand the need for this industry.

War always starts with human stupidity, and you never know when this stupidity will take over. So, the defence sector has to be prepared to prevent the worst.”

Neven Tikvica, who joined EADS in 2008, has been part of the HENSOLDT universe from the very beginning. Of Croatian origin, born in Kyiv and having lived in Russia for some time, the current Business Development Director for Central and Eastern Europe fully understands the constant silent aggression in regions such as the former states of Yugoslavia and the USSR.

photo of Neven Tikvica

Protecting our Children and Our Homes

“I think we in South Africa have lived in a challenging and insecure society for so long that violence is a constant fixture in our minds. Of course, this does not take away from the current tragedy in Ukraine. I’m watching events unfold from afar, with growing horror that such brutal hubris is still so deeply entrenched in a nation that I thought had outgrown such hostile ways. So, systems like the ones from HENSOLDT are still essential – sadly.

What touches even me more directly and consistently is, for example, how we can keep our children safe in our homes with HENSOLDT technology.”

Our South African colleague Daniel van Niekerk, who has been with the company for 15 years, works on various projects such as the RF signal propagation model or software system integration.

photo of Daniel van Niekerk

Defending the Civilian Population

“During our apprenticeship, the focus was on the learning content, and we had very little exposure to defence. It was only when we joined the department that we gained more insight and understanding. This has increased the personal value of our work – making it “meaningful”, you might say. We are very proud of the fact that every day we produce sensors and products that help to protect civilians in crisis areas such as Ukraine.

We can really see how much the perception of the HENSOLDT brand has changed in recent months. In the extended circle of friends, the name is now immediately present – in a thoroughly positive way.”

Jasmin Mattern and Diana Rudi completed their apprenticeships at HENSOLDT as microtechnologists specialising in microsystems technology and have been part of the team at the Microwave Factory in Ulm for three and four years, respectively. There, they mainly manufacture transmitter and receiver modules for our radar systems under clean room conditions.

photo of Jasmin Mattern und Diana Rudi

Top Equipment for Those Who Protect Us

“As a young engineer in the defence industry, the war in Ukraine has had a significant impact on my perception of my work as this tragedy has reminded me harshly of the crucial role our industry plays in geopolitical issues to preserve freedom against external attacks.

From my point of view, the performance of our French business is crucial in ensuring that our armed forces have the best combat resources at their disposal. Especially in view of the current crisis, I am more committed than ever to my role in ensuring that our troops have the most advanced equipment.

Our commitment to excellence and innovation remains unwavering because we understand the direct impact that our efforts have on those who defend us. We know that every detail counts when it comes to supporting the brave men and women who risk their own lives to protect us and our freedom.

To make it short: I am deeply proud to be part of this industry. And we will continue to work with dedication and passion to protect our nations and values from the challenges of today’s world.”

Clément Aubaniac joined HENSOLDT at the beginning of 2023 at our French site in Toulouse. With a specialised Master’s degree in Industrial Business Engineering, he is now responsible for developing the service activities in France, including obsolescence management and the integration of third-party sensors.

photo of Clément Aubaniac

The Awareness and Acceptance Shift as a Growth Driver

“At HENSOLDT, we have one purpose: To create a safer future for generations to come. Together, we face the enormous challenges of our time, find answers to global security and defence issues and develop innovative technologies to do so. With this purpose, we attract and retain the best talent. Our values are at the heart of our commitment and ambition to be better and to become better. The commitment of our employees to our common goal of contributing to security and stability in Europe and the world is what makes HENSOLDT so strong, innovative, and driven. The shift in awareness and acceptance of the defence industry is already having a positive impact on our business and will continue to contribute to our growth.”

Dr. Lars Immisch, Chief HR Officer at HENSOLDT

photo of Dr. Lars Immisch