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Command, control, intelligence and reconnaissance capabilities require reliable means of sharing data with remote units. Today’s answer to this communication question is radio frequency technology. High-resolution detector systems, however, generate a deluge of data that cannot be transmitted in real time without some form of compression. What’s more, limited frequency bands and antenna size impose severe constrictions on some of the potentially most effective applications, for example, mini drones.
RF technology, with its inability to transport vast streams of data, is fast approaching the point of diminishing returns. It is sure to be edged out by laser-based communication. The higher bandwidth and faster transmission rates will prevail wherever superior surveillance capabilities and immunity are at a premium.
Lasercom systems have definitely arrived, as this brief recap of HENSOLDT Optronics’ achievements attests:
Our optical communication equipment’s ability to transmit uncompressed HD data for border surveillance applications has proven its merits in the field. For civilian applications, there is no other way to blast through the data bottleneck and transcend the gigabit barrier.
The world’s only ground/GEO link is based on Airbus DS technology that is part of our Zeiss legacy. Optical feeder links exploit licence-free bandwidth, thereby sparing licensed frequencies that can be gainfully employed for downlink broadcasts.
HENSOLDT Optronics is known for its superior stabilised terrestrial, maritime and airborne platforms. The experience and insight gained in these projects has enabled us to develop optical communication systems that deliver reliable broadband performance in the air, on land and at sea.
Today submarine communication is suboptimal, with a threshold not higher than the kbit/s range. Our technology has been proven to transmit data at mbit/s speeds, which opens up a whole new range of possibilities, for example, reconnaissance data sourced from unmanned underwater vehicles. HENSOLDT Optronics’ optical underwater acquisition technology is patented.
Our optical subsystems have been tried, tested and verified in space with a com link that topped the 5 gbit/s mark across a distance exceeding 5,000 km.
HENSOLDT is a globally leading supplier of premium sensors for security and surveillance missions. Capitalising on more than a hundred years of experience in high-performance technology, we are the world market leader for missile warning systems and submarine periscopes. Moreover, HENSOLDT is well represented in the market for radar systems, optronics and electronic protection systems.
The company was formed from Airbus’ defence electronics activities, which were spun off from the Airbus Group in 2017 and have now entered the market together with the former Airbus DS Optronics as a new sensor house under the brand name of HENSOLDT.
Our company’s name HENSOLDT traces back to Moritz Carl Hensoldt, a German pioneer of optics and precision mechanics in the 19th century, whose name stands for premium solutions, combining excellence, innovation and efficiency. We represent a more than 100-year-old German tradition in technology by continuing the work done by such renowned predecessors as Telefunken, Dornier, Siemens Sicherungstechnik and Carl Zeiss Optronics.
HENSOLDT employs approximately 4,000 employees, generating annual revenues of about €1 billion.
As a sensor house, HENSOLDT combines under one roof various mission-critical sensor technologies, which ensure a substantial improvement in detection capabilities when used in combination. HENSOLDT dominates all the key technological fields earmarked by the German government and focuses in particular on the central categories: sensors and protection. We are forging ahead with the development of these key technologies and, by doing so, contribute to the protection of soldiers, security staff and critical infrastructure. As a technology leader, we drive innovation, particularly in the areas of next-generation optronics, active electronically scanning (AESA) radar, smart jamming and passive radar. Our multi-sensor integration and data fusion capabilities provide customers with added value through the smart combination of different sensors and effectors.
Our areas of activity include the protection of critical infrastructures, air defence, airborne self-protection, vehicle and convoy protection, signal intelligence and data links, as well as night vision, thermal imaging, laser rangefinding and optronic targeting. Furthermore, our portfolio comprises mission avionics equipment, such as computers, mission planning devices and situational awareness systems for helicopters. With its wide-ranging product portfolio HENSOLDT addresses customers in the defence and security domains, covering the whole spectrum for air, sea and land missions. Our solutions are deployed on various platforms, including helicopters, aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, ships and submarines, armoured vehicles as well as satellites.
Among the most prominent air and space platforms equipped with our products are the F-16, Eurofighter, Gripen and Rafale combat aircraft, the Tandem-X and EDRS-A satellites, the A400M transport aircraft, as well as helicopters of various types. Furthermore, we provide mission-critical equipment to the PUMA and LEOPARD armoured vehicles, the class 212 and 209 submarines, the US Navy “Freedom” class Littoral Combat Ship and the German Navy F125 frigate. Our sights and night vision optics have also been chosen for the German Future Soldier Programme “Infanterist der Zukunft”.