on the Zeitenwende:

The Bundeswehr’s Path to Becoming a Future-Proof Army

on the Zeitenwende:

The Bundeswehr’s Path to Becoming a Future-Proof Army

The German Bundeswehr is about to undergo a complete modernization. Given the new reality for security policy in Europe, it is moving its focus back to national and alliance defence. This means it needs to build up its capabilities and HENSOLDT can make a significant contribution to that, with its technologies of today and tomorrow. The company is a strong partner which is willing to take responsibility in the joint undertaking between politics, the military, and industry to develop the Bundeswehr into a future-oriented army quickly and comprehensively.

When the Bundeswehr last experienced a major structural reform in 2011, Germany’s government at the time decided that national and alliance defence should no longer determine the structure of the Bundeswehr. Instead, it has been consistently focused on foreign deployments, although there was an initial, isolated shift back toward NATO alliance defence following Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014. Then, in February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine and the security situation in Europe changed radically.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivered a speech to the German parliament on February 27, 2022, three days after Russia’s invasion, one which is often referred to today as historic. In it, he spoke for the first time of the Zeitenwende or turning point. The latter is marked by the need for a completely new orientation for German security and defence policy due to the change in Europe’s military and political order.

In this context, the German government has defined three objectives:

  • 1. Immediate support for Ukraine with rapid supply of material
  • 2. A fast increase of the Bundeswehr’s combat readiness
  • 3. A medium- and long-term improvement of the Bundeswehr’s operational readiness

While the international missions that are currently mandated will continue, the Bundeswehr has been instructed to concentrate more on national and alliance defence again in the future. To this end, the federal government is seeking to invest at least two percent of its gross domestic product in defence each year and established an additional, hypothecated special fund for the Bundeswehr, worth 100 billion euros and backed up with a legal basis under the country’s constitution. “Our aim is to have a capable, highly modern, and advanced Bundeswehr which protects us reliably,” said Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

In addition to the defence budget, the special fund is intended primarily to finance complex equipment projects of the Bundeswehr that last multiple years. The majority of the investments is set to go toward “Air,” followed by the military’s “Leadership/Digital Transformation,” “Land,” and “Sea.” Funds have also been budgeted for research and development on the application of artificial intelligence.

The biggest Bundeswehr modernization in history is planned to fill a current gap in capabilities. It involves more than just increasing the volumes of equipment. Rather, the shift toward alliance and national defence comes with requirements of a very different quality in terms of capabilities and technological material, compared to out-of-area operations such as the Afghanistan mission. Secondly, the Bundeswehr is also intended to be prepared for the new requirements of the future so that it can respond to any kind of threat effectively and efficiently. The buildup of capabilities within NATO and the EU will also have an important role in this substantial empowerment of the Bundeswehr. Christine Lambrecht, then Minister of Defence, announced in the German Bundestag in June 2022: “In establishing the special fund, we will return to equipping our military in a way that lets it achieve its core mission in full: defending our country and our allies. We are ensuring a fully operational Bundeswehr.”

Image of Olaf Scholz giving a speech in Ulm

January 16, 2023: Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits the HENSOLDT site in Ulm, Germany

HENSOLDT – a Reliable Partner

As a leading technology company in the defence industry and a strategic partner of Germany’s government, HENSOLDT is able to make a substantial contribution in the context of the Zeitenwende. It has an innovative and extensive portfolio that serves crucial technological trends, most of all the abilities to quickly develop a comprehensive situation report, to distribute collected information in a network of connected sensors and effectors in a manner appropriate for the mission, and to gain control over the electromagnetic spectrum.

Based on its growth in recent years, the significant expansion of its workforce that has come with this, and its broadened international production network, HENSOLDT is capable of supporting the Bundeswehr rapidly and flexibly. In this context, HENSOLDT technologies can essentially strengthen four capability areas that are of high importance for the future-oriented orientation of the Bundeswehr. Added to this is support for Ukraine’s defence capability.

Image of a diagram made of several circles. The circle in the center contains the word 'Zeitenwende', while the other circles around it contain the titles 'Support for Ukraine', 'SElf-Protection and Personal Equipment', 'Information Superiority', 'Integrated Operations' and 'Air Defence'

Information Superiority

Russia’s war against Ukraine demonstrates how the availability and systematic evaluation of data can also put a numerically superior opponent on the defensive. Information superiority plays an increasingly decisive role in operational and strategic situation assessment and strategies based on it. Accordingly, efficient information gathering and effective information management are of enormous importance for national and alliance defence by the German Bundeswehr, now and in the future. In addition to traditional reconnaissance, this increasingly includes the evaluation, use, and integration of publicly available data from freely accessible (social) media.

One example: The airborne signal-capturing system PEGASUS based on HENSOLDT reconnaissance technologies will contribute to long-range surveillance and reconnaissance in the future – both nationally and within the alliance. This will close an expertise gap that the Bundeswehr has had in this area since 2010.

Digital image of a landscape with mit sea and land. Ships, airplanes and bases are connected via green lines

HENSOLDT Technologies for Information Superiority

SARah is the successor to the SARLupe satellites, both of which are equipped with HENSOLDT’s high-resolution “Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)” technology. The SARah reconnaissance system consists of three radar satellites and two ground stations. It stands out for its even better resolution and faster image transmission, which means it seamlessly joins the lineage of HENSOLDT SAR solutions that have been in space for over 20 years without any mission critical failure. No matter the weather conditions, they deliver key data from space in record time, 24 hours a day at almost any location on earth. The Bundeswehr uses the satellites to detect and prevent crises as well as to manage them.

Eurofighter Common Radar System (ECRS) Mk1 is being developed by HENSOLDT in conjunction with INDRA as the next-generation Eurofighter radar. The electronically scanned radar system, which incorporates more than two decades of experience and development work, improves electronic warfare capability as well as target detection and acquisition. Its modular design, powerful multichannel receiver, and forward-looking architecture reduce repair and maintenance requirements and enable incremental upgrades of current radar generations. The E-Scan high-performance radar is to be installed in the upcoming Eurofighter. Overall, HENSOLDT is planning to supply more than 150 Mk1 radars for the Eurofighter fleet of the German and Spanish air forces.

The current and future HENSOLDT portfolio includes many other solutions that contribute to information superiority. These include, for example:

  • Mk0 radar: High-performance airborne surveillance radar and further development of CAPTOR‑E for the current Eurofighter
  • EF IEWS (Eurofighter Integrated Electronic Warfare Capabilities): Integrated electronic warfare capabilities for the Eurofighter
  • EF EK ESJ Pod: State-of-the-art airborne electronic warfare solution that will be operational for the first time in 2028
  • Reconnaissance technology for PEGASUS (Persistent German Airborne Surveillance Systems): Future airborne system for electronic signal reconnaissance for which HENSOLDT is responsible as prime contractor
  • PrecISR: Family of airborne multi-mission surveillance radars for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance
  • Military Avionics: Broad portfolio of military avionics systems, including situational awareness systems, military mission computers, and flight recorders
  • TRS‑4D: C‑band naval radar with AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) technology for surveillance and target acquisition
  • OMS (Optronic Mast System): Optical twin mast for submarine operations
  • PERI: Periscope for remote observation and target acquisition for main battle tanks
  • Military Utility Vehicle: Concept demonstrator as a modular sensor fusion platform for surveillance and reconnaissance as well as self and convoy protection
Digital image of SARah in space


Image of ECRS Mk1


Digital image of an EF EK ESJ Pod


Image of TRS-4D


Image of OMS


Digital image of the Military Utility Vehicle

Military Utility Vehicle

Integrated Operations

In the past, military strategists used to say: “One tank alone will not win a battle.” Today, and increasingly in the future, the technological potential of networking different sensors and effectors across all domains must be exploited: on the ground, in the air, at sea, in space, and in cyberspace. The basis for this is the communication of all elements in the network as well as cloud-based and AI-supported evaluation and processing of all data. This creates the ability to act in the network and thus strategic superiority.

One example: the “Future Combat Air System (FCAS)”, to which HENSOLDT is contributing key core technologies, describes the interplay of manned and unmanned flying platforms, distributed sensors, and effectors on the ground and at sea, linked by a combat cloud.

Digital image of two military aircrafts

HENSOLDT Technologies for Integrated Operations

TWINVIS (standing for “twin” and “invisible”) is a passive radar that cannot be detected. While conventional radar systems emit signals that are reflected by an object and thus make it visible, TWINVIS does not generate any transmission energy. Instead, it uses existing electromagnetic energy from radio and TV transmitters and evaluates their echoes reflected from an object. The system thus remains invisible, cannot be selectively jammed or turned off, and can even detect stealth aircraft. A single TWINVIS can provide 3D surveillance of up to 200 aircraft within a 250-kilometer radius. Thus, it can play an important role in securing sensor-effector networks. Thanks to its small size, it can even be integrated into off-road vehicles and vans.

CERETRON can network a variety of different sensors from the extensive HENSOLDT portfolio or from third-party suppliers – from optronics and radar to self-protection and electronic warfare. The data is processed, automatically evaluated, and summarized in a view. With the help of artificial intelligence, an intelligent situation report is created within milliseconds with all action-relevant information for the forces on the ground and the command. This ensures information superiority, supports and relieves the user, and enables reconnaissance, target acquisition, and transmission of target data across the entire network. Data from (social) media can be incorporated into the situation assessment.

The current and future HENSOLDT portfolio includes many other solutions that enable networked activity. These include, for example:

  • Detect and Avoid Radar (DAA): Airborne anti-collision radar system for remote-controlled or autonomous aerial systems and thus important for the interconnection of manned and unmanned platforms
  • Fully Digital Radar: Radar system of the future for high-precision, real-time observation of the environment, capable of separate use of transmitter and receiver units for use in a network
  • OMS 360 + SERO: Optical mast system and periscope as twin optronics mast solution for combined reconnaissance and target tracking under difficult visibility conditions
  • Sensor Subsystem for FCAS: Networked sensor and effector technology with connection to the “Air Combat Cloud" in the “Future Combat Air System", which is being developed in an industrial consortium led by HENSOLDT
Image of the TWINVIS in the desert


Iameg of the CERETRON


Image of the Detect and Avoid Radar

Detect and Avoid Radar

Image of the Fully Digital Radar

Fully Digital Radar

Image of OMS + SERO


Digital image of the Sensor Subsystem for FCAS

Sensor Subsystem for FCAS

Air Defence

In August 2022, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz described a jointly developed air defence system as a “gain in security for all of Europe.” The European NATO countries want to realize this as part of the “European Sky Shield Initiative” (ESSI). The aim is to defend against ballistic missiles, cruise, and hypersonic missiles, and also to protect against attacks by aircraft and increasingly drones. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine stresses the importance of a comprehensive defence capability against the full spectrum of airborne threats. In ESSI, various systems that complement each other and fulfill their protective function for different altitudes and distances are to be deployed. On the German side, a particular focus is on capability development in close to medium protection ranges, which includes protection against attacks with drones.

One example: The radars in HENSOLDT’s SPEXER product family can also automatically identify and locate very slow and low-flying targets such as drones. Another example is the TRML‑4D multifunction high-performance radar already delivered to Ukraine.

Image of an air defence system

HENSOLDT Technologies for Air Defence

SPEXER 3D / Counter UAS combines tracking with object classification. In doing so, the platform-independent SPEXER radars automatically distinguish between moving targets and interfering signals and can also reliably locate very slow and low-flying, highly agile targets such as drones. Automatically, everything detected is classified into different categories – such as pedestrians, vehicles, helicopters, aircraft, drones, birds and fast and unknown targets. In response to current and future threat scenarios, the latest SPEXER 2000 can be installed mobile on an armored vehicle. Thus, it becomes the solution of choice for the “qualified air defence” of the German Bundeswehr. The first ten vehicles will form the German contingent of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in 2023.

Hypersonic Missile Defence addresses the increasing threat posed by hypersonic weapons. To this end, HENSOLDT is developing a system that provides a situation report of the hypersonic threat. The necessary data will be provided by radar systems and satellite-based optical systems that communicate with each other in a network. They must provide results fast enough to detect, locate, and eliminate hypersonic threats at an early stage. The concept is being advanced jointly with national and European partners.

The current and future HENSOLDT portfolio includes many other solutions for building a powerful air defence. These include, for example:

  • TRML‑4D: High-precision radar with latest AESA technology and shortest response times for complex environments with high target density and highly agile, asymmetric threats
  • TRS‑4D/LR ROT: Long-range radar with ballistic missile detection capability from HENSOLDT and ELTA collaboration for ground-based air surveillance and F124-class warships
  • Space-Based Early Warning Radar: Radar that detects and tracks targets from space at such an early stage that countermeasures can be initiated in good time
Image of Spexer 3D/Counter UAS

Spexer 3D

Image of Hypersonic Missile Defence

Hypersonic Missile Defence

Image of TRML-4D


Image of TRS-4D/LR ROT


Image of the Space Based Early Radars

Space Based Early Warning Radar

Self-Protection and Personal Equipment

Personal equipment is the foundation of every soldier’s safety and operational capability. Effective self-protection systems can make the difference between life and death. As part of a major equipment package approved by the German Bundestag, the full operational capability of the German Bundeswehr in this area is to be ensured with a view to the goal of national and alliance defence. In addition to personal protection, self-protection systems for military vehicles and flying platforms are of central importance in this context. This is also underlined by the shooting down of helicopters and aircraft by comparatively simple technical means in the Russian war against Ukraine.

One example: In cooperation with the company Theon Sensors, HENSOLDT is developing the next generation of modern thermal imaging and night vision systems that can be worn on the helmet or directly on the head.

Digital image of a tank defending against an attack

HENSOLDT Technologies for Self-Protection and Personal Equipment

MUSS 2.0 is a further development of the current Multifunctional Self-Protection System – the only protection system for ground vehicles that is supplied and deployed in series production worldwide today. It significantly reduces the probability of being hit by an anti-tank guided missile or a laser-guided weapon. MUSS 2.0, significantly smaller than its predecessor, can reliably detect missiles, projectiles, and even second-generation laser range finders, warn of them, and automatically trigger countermeasures such as activating a smoke launcher or pyrotechnics, or jamming missile guidance via infrared. With MUSS 2.0, HENSOLDT aims to open up the market for medium armored troop vehicles, infantry fighting vehicles, and battle tanks both nationally and internationally.

Night Vision Systems provide soldiers with the necessary perspective even in absolute darkness. In cooperation with Theon Sensors, HENSOLDT is developing the next generation of thermal imaging and night vision systems and founded the joint company HENSOLDT THEON NightVision GmbH for this purpose in the summer of 2022. State-of-the-art night vision goggles – such as the MIKRON‑D – are not only becoming smaller and more powerful, they can now also be operated with just a single AA battery. As early as 2021, HENSOLDT and Theon had received an order from the multinational procurement organization OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en Matière d’Armement) for night vision goggles as part of the Night Vision Capability programme for Germany and Belgium.

ALTAS Laser Warners (Advanced Laser Threat Alerting System) from HENSOLDT are in use today by various customers worldwide in helicopters and small transport aircraft. They reliably detect laser range finders, laser target indicators, and lasers used to control guided missiles – so-called “laser beam riders.” Countermeasures such as appropriate flight maneuvers can thus be initiated in good time. The ALTAS laser warning system can be easily integrated into existing and future electronic systems and combines the complete detection and processing technology in one device with minimal space requirements.

The current and future HENSOLDT portfolio includes many other solutions in the area of self-protection and personal equipment. These include, for example:

  • AMPS (Airborne Missile Protection System): Airborne missile protection system for aircraft and helicopters against man-portable air defence systems
  • PRAETORIAN: Eurofighter self-protection system against radar- and infrared-guided missiles; developed by a consortium of LEONARDO UK, Elettronica, INDRA and HENSOLDT
  • Sights and Scopes for the “Infantryman of the Future”: Infrared attachments, night vision attachments, target optics, and reflex sights for the Bundeswehr’s modernization programme
Image of a MUSS 2.0

MUSS 2.0

Image of a Night Vision System

Night Vision Systems

Image of ATLAS Laser Warner

ALTAS Laser Warner

Digital image of AMPS


Digital image of the PRAETORIAN


Soldier with a scope

Sights and Scopes for the “Infantryman of the Future”

Support for Ukraine

In close coordination with the German Federal Government, HENSOLDT provides technological support for Ukraine’s defence capability against Russia’s attacks. The focus is on the TRML‑4D high-performance radar for the IRIS‑T air defence system and the COBRA mobile artillery tracking radar.

IRIS‑T is currently Germany’s most advanced air defence system. Since fall 2022, Germany has been providing Ukraine with the first ground-based systems of this type for medium-range protection (SLM) on short notice. Ukrainian defence forces were trained on the weapon system in Germany. The industrial partners provided technical support while the German air force provided tactical training.

The COBRA mobile artillery detection radar is used to locate enemy artillery and missile positions and to predict the trajectory of projectiles. It meets all NATO requirements and provides early warning to enable protective action. At Ukraine’s request, one of these highly complex COBRA systems from the Bundeswehr’s inventory was made available in September 2022.

HENSOLDT CEO Thomas Müller: “The situation in Ukraine requires quick and decisive action. Thanks to our series production line for radars and the commitment of our employees, we are able to deliver systems such as our high-performance radar TRML‑4D for IRIS‑T in the shortest possible time. With our world-class radar, we are now helping to protect Ukrainian cities and the Ukrainian people.”

Image of a Ukrainian city in winter

The TRML‑4D Radar for the IRIS‑T Air Defence System

The TRML‑4D multifunctional high-performance radar, developed and manufactured by HENSOLDT, is an integral part of the IRIS‑T air defence system. The Infra Red Imaging System Tail/Thrust Vector-Controlled refers to an air-to-air missile with an infrared seeker for air defence. There are different versions that can cover different ranges: SLS stands for short range and SLM for medium range. A single ground-based IRIS‑T SLM can protect a medium-sized major city. Deployable on the move, it consists of the 360-degree radar, the control center, and the launcher, which can take out targets at altitudes of up to 20 kilometers and ranges of up to 40 kilometers.

Image of a TRML-4D-Radars

IRIS‑T was developed entirely in Germany by an industrial consortium comprising Diehl Defence, Airbus, and HENSOLDT, is produced in Germany, and is fully compatible with NATO’s integrated air defence architecture.

HENSOLDT’s TRML‑4D radar uses the latest AESA radar technology with multiple digitally shaped beams. TRML‑4D is capable of detecting, tracking, and classifying up to 1,500 aerial targets within a radius of up to 250 kilometers. The focus is on small, fast, and low-flying cruise missiles as well as aircraft and helicopters.

Currently, a performance upgrade is under development as IRIS‑T SLX, which will have significantly increased range and altitude coverage, further improving response and warning times.

COBRA Artillery Detection Radar for the detection of enemy firing positions

Back around the turn of the millennium, HENSOLDT, together with Thales and Lockheed Martin, developed the first version of the COBRA (Counter Battery Radar) mobile artillery detection radar for the German, French, and British armed forces. Today, more than 40 systems in various configurations are in service in Germany, France, and Turkey as well as with several forces outside Europe.

Image of the artillery detection radar COBRA

COBRA can accurately and rapidly locate enemy guns, rocket launchers, and mortars. Mounted on a single vehicle, it is highly mobile and does not require additional leveling or stabilization. Powerful software algorithms automatically compensate for terrain slopes. An expansion pack extends the range up to 100 kilometers, adds a second search fence, and can automatically filter out sandstorms.

Among other things, HENSOLDT supplies the “COBRA Radar Environment Simulator (CRES)” for the system, which is essential for testing system performance and optimal deployment. As a key element, the CRES can test and verify radar performance in a laboratory environment with reproducible target trajectories. It generates artificial radar reflections that enable simulation of all types of ballistic projectiles, such as rockets, mortar shells, howitzer shells, and cannon shells, without the need for real-world transmissions.