Sensor solution provider Hensoldt and ERA, a passive surveillance system manufacturer, have announced their strategic partnership to drive the advancement of air surveillance and defence capabilities for the German Luftwaffe.

Their collaboration is a response to the insights gained from recent conflicts in Europe, emphasising the need for cutting-edge technologies to enhance national and European security.

Hensoldt and ERA will leverage their expertise to develop an integrated infrastructure solution, combining the former’s passive radar locator ‘Twinvis’ and the latter’s VERA-NG surveillance system.

While ERA designed the VERA-NG to detect active emissions from targets of interest at long range, targets do not have to emit signals for the passive radar Twinvis at a shorter range.

Hensoldt and Era aim for a complete picture

Through this combination, the end user can create a complete passive air picture. This integrated approach will provide a passive surveillance capability with greater coverage, contributing significantly to future air surveillance and air defence systems.

“We are excited to join forces with Hensoldt to further pioneer a new era of passive surveillance capabilities by combining our proven passive surveillance system VERA-NG with PCL-Twinvis technology,” Ondrej Chlost, CEO of ERA stated.

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“The integration of our VERA-NG and Passive Radar Twinvis technology not only addresses the current challenges but also prepares us for the future needs of air surveillance and defence.”

Adoption of deep-sensing across defence

Advanced sensors have come to rely on a range of technologies, largely radar systems. Alongside this, however, electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) systems enhance sensor coverage, detecting targets in a different way.

Recently, the US government agreed to sell Taiwan infrared search and track (IRST) technology for its fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcon jets. GlobalData Aerospace and Defence Analyst James Marques explained that the IRST is an alternate method of detection and tracking to radar.

“Radars can be jammed by electronic warfare but because IRST is essentially a type of camera, it’s difficult to defeat as a tracking method.”

GlobalData estimates the global military EO/IR systems market, valued at $10.1bn last year, will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.1% until 2032. GlobalData expects the market to reach $13.6bn by 2032 and cumulatively value $124.1bn over the forecast period.

Although these systems are active sensors that emit energy to detect, users can combine these with passive sensors for greater coverage.

Larger American defence primes have also exploited similar disruptive sensor technologies. At the end of last month, Northrop Grumman demonstrated its deep-sensing and targeting platform.

Northrop’s sensor suite “can help the US Army realise its vision of deep-sensing with the ability to identify, monitor, target and strike threats from farther distances and with greater precision,” Pablo Pezzimenti, vice president of integrated national systems at Northrop Grumman stated.