Developing Integrated Solutions


Future Combat Air System

Main Ground Combat System


Through its transformation into a solution provider, HENSOLDT creates true value for its existing and future customers. That is because integrated solutions play a vital role in terms of overcoming the increasingly complex challenges of tomorrow, whether on water, on land, in the air, in space, or in cyberspace. As the Sensor Solutions House, HENSOLDT systematically brings together its technological expertise from the standpoint of the user. As a result, sensor fusion supplies more than just data, but rather superior information across increasingly interconnected platforms. This is how HENSOLDT products and systems help find solutions.


Fit for the Future

As a key pillar of the German, European, and other international air forces, the Eurofighter is one of the leading multipurpose fighter jets. With integrated sensor solutions from HENSOLDT, it is entering the next development stage for the coming decades. The same goes for HENSOLDT, as the company is, for the first time, handling the entire radar system in its largest contract to date.

Radar evolution

Long Term Evolution – or LTE for short – is the name of the program that seeks to make the Eurofighter fit for the future until well into the 21st century, with integrated sensor solutions set to play a pivotal role in this regard. The intelligent networking of electronics and sensors will not only boost the performance capability compared to previous systems but will also open up completely new deployment scenarios in the medium term.

HENSOLDT – already the technology partner for numerous sensor, optoelectronic, navigation, and self-protection components of the Eurofighter – will now be taking on a much greater role. In respect of the new electronically scanned Mk1 radar, the company is, for the first time, responsible for the entire system design in tandem with industry partner Indra – and has also assumed the lead role for the project within the German–Spanish industry consortium. In addition, the potential for future self-protection systems is currently being analysed by HENSOLDT in a study on behalf of the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) that will run for several years. In order to face the threats of tomorrow – including those due to new networked antiaircraft systems, highly agile radars, and from cyberspace – the systems need to interact in the most interconnected way possible, which is currently also being analysed in companion studies.

The new Eurofighter Common Radar System (“ECRS”) Mk1 is underpinned by more than two decades of experience and development work on the part of the Eurofighter partner countries. As the logical successor to the Mk0 generation, this new electronically scanned radar offers numerous advantages in terms of surveillance, operation, and target detection/tracking, especially when compared to the CAPTOR-M previously used in most craft. Its modular design, powerful multichannel receiver, and pioneering architecture reduce repair and maintenance costs and facilitate step-by-step hardware and software upgrades starting from the Mk0 generation.

HENSOLDT will also be handling production of major components of the new radar system, including probably more than 250,000 transmitter/receiver modules (TRMs) for the future Mk1 antennae, as well as the multichannel receiver – the linchpin of the new radar. With an investment volume of some €1.5 billion, this represents the largest contract in the company’s history to date and is going hand in hand with an expansion in workforce and production capacity, especially at the highly specialized plant in Ulm. Here, the team is set to grow to up to 400 employees in the years ahead. Overall, HENSOLDT is planning to supply some 150 Mk1 radars for the Eurofighter fleet of the German air force alone.

The pioneering innovations of HENSOLDT are paving the way for the future of this fleet. Geared toward new requirements and equipped with the necessary data connectivity, the Eurofighter will become a central component of the Future Combat Air System (“FCAS”). Within the context of the Eurofighter Long Term Evolution program, HENSOLDT is able to contribute further technological expertise and thus put itself in an excellent position for FCAS – in line with the company’s own strategic direction and with a focus on integrated system solutions.

Eye of the Typhoon

Eye of the Typhoon

Alongside the aircraft of the next Eurofighter tranche, “Quadriga,” many other current-generation Eurofighters, still fitted with the CAPTOR-M mechanical radar, will also be receiving the new Mk1 radar from HENSOLDT via hardware and software updates over the next few years. Instead of a mechanically scanned antenna, it boasts an electronically scanned antenna with more than 1,500 radiating elements. The ASEA (active electronically scanned array) technology underpinning the ECRS Mk1 combines ultra-high-resolution surveillance of the entire airspace with faster automatic detection and tracking of far more targets, as well as enhanced missile guidance. At the same time, it offers increased resistance against attempted interference, thus improving the survival prospects of the Eurofighter, even in intense conflict situations.

Built-In Life Insurance

Built-In Life Insurance

Self-protection systems issue a warning as soon as the jet is picked up by a radar; they also detect hostile threats and can initiate countermeasures. In addition, the Euro Defensive Aids Sub System (“EuroDASS”) PRAETORIAN records and classifies all radar signatures using specific national mission data. Depending on the scenario, the pilot will be made aware of threats such as anti-aircraft systems and rockets as part of the situation report, with countermeasures taken either manually or automatically. These measures range from simple electronic interference techniques and the launching of decoy flares through to complex 3-D flight manoeuvre sequences and false-target techniques. In order to further optimize these essential protective features, HENSOLDT is working with consortium partners on the new PRAETORIAN eVolution self-protection system. Its technologies, modular system architecture, and far-reaching integration with the electronic Mk1 radar provide pilots in the German and Spanish fleets with effective self-protection at all times – from the equipping through to the decommissioning of the Eurofighter.

Rapid On-Site Assistance

Rapid On-Site Assistance

If a Eurofighter is grounded due to a technical fault involving the radar or the self-protection system, action must be taken swiftly. Therefore, highly specialized HENSOLDT experts from the Technological Diagnostic Cell support the German air force by providing diagnostic, maintenance, and repair services at the Eurofighter squadron bases in Neuburg an der Donau and Laage, near Rostock. Thanks to their experience, which encompasses many years of close cooperation with the air force and the diagnostic teams of other Eurofighter nations, they are able to get the jets airborne again in next to no time. The diagnostic equipment RATE (radar automatic test equipment) – developed by HENSOLDT and expandable on a modular basis – is also used by other Eurofighter nations around the world; alongside fault detection, it also facilitates recertification for the aircraft’s next mission.

Intelligent Helmet

Intelligent Helmet

The helmet tracking system (HTS) developed by HENSOLDT South Africa detects in real time the direction in which the Eurofighter pilot is currently looking. As such, it is able to aim or set targets simply through eye contact. All fed-in information automatically follows the line of sight. On request, the helmet can also be fitted with a night vision device. Since the start of series production in 2008, HENSOLDT has supplied more than 700 helmets with night vision capability – just one example of the many items of kit and equipment that the company tailors to the requirements of the Eurofighter.

Eurofighter Pilot

"Our missions are not quite like those you see in Top Gun"

Nicola Winter was Germany’s second-ever female fighter jet pilot and one of only three female Eurofighter pilots in the German air force. She now flies helicopters and works as an aerospace engineer at the German Aerospace Center (DLR e.V.).

What does it take to be a Eurofighter pilot?

The pilots of Eurofighters and other fighter jets are not highfliers. We simply do a very unusual job that requires a specific set of skills. The Eurofighter itself is extremely easy to fly. The exciting challenge is actually keeping track of so much information, so many tactics, and so many highly specialized systems during a mission.

And what does the Eurofighter bring to the table?

The Eurofighter is a multipurpose fighter jet that is suitable for a broad range of highly diverse deployment scenarios. As a generation 4.5 fighter jet, it already provides the pilot with excellent computer assistance. We fly the aircraft alone, without a weapon systems officer on board, and are required to handle highly complex missions and scenarios, both air to air and air to ground. To do so, we need excellent sensors and information processing to enable swift and precise implementation.

When does this sensor and radar technology become the difference between success and failure?

Our missions are not quite like those you see in Top Gun. We don’t just lock eyes with our enemies at a distance of 50 meters. The process begins when there are some two, three, four hundred kilometres between us and the enemy. That is why the radar acts as our eye. The better its range, resolution, presentation of information, and ease of use, the better I am as a pilot. A mission without radar would be akin to coming under attack in a building at night, with someone suddenly switching off the lights.

What stages have you seen for yourself in the evolution of radar technology and how have they changed the way in which people and sensors interact?

I still know Phantom pilots who would sit in the cockpit with pen and paper, making crosses to indicate the location of enemies. In the Tornado, I then had a radar on board with a relatively short range – and that was solely designed to identify targets on the ground. In the air, I was reliant on others telling me where my enemies were. In those days, the radar was operated by a weapon systems officer, who would adjust all kinds of cogs in order to manually set the width of the radius, the various frequency bands, the range, and the different radar modes. In the Eurofighter, this is all done automatically.

From a technological standpoint, what would you like to see in the next radar generation? Where is there still room for improvement?

Definitely in terms of user-friendliness. We still spend a considerable amount of time learning how to operate the cockpit and the individual sensors. This could be even more intuitive, which would make it easier for me as a professional to use in stressful situations. The second challenge lies in sensor fusion – that is, the collation of information from the radar, network, infrared sensor, and more to form an integrated report. In both regards, system design under one roof makes sense in terms of developing solutions even more closely in line with the user’s perspective.

HENSOLDT is currently developing an electronically scanned radar for the next generation of the Eurofighter. What advantages does this offer the pilot?

It represents a further significant improvement in terms of target resolution and range. It tells me at an earlier stage that enemies are heading toward me and how many of them there are. While I may only gain about ten extra seconds, these are extremely valuable, allowing me to determine my own tactics and respond correctly. What’s more, an electronic radar can detect and track far more targets simultaneously. This makes it easier to see the whole picture, especially when facing enemies who have a numerical advantage.

What is your view on the use of AI in fighter jet missions?

As a fighter jet pilot, I currently have to memorize hundreds of different hostile aircraft, antiaircraft systems, tanks, and ships – and then recognize and evaluate them on my screen. Here, AI can help us with visual detection patterns, especially when it comes to compliance with our rules of engagement. These form a highly complex set of rules that accounts for the majority of our work as pilots. For example, it may be the case that I am only authorized to pick up an enemy aircraft on my radar if it is heading toward me at a speed of more than 420 knots, at an altitude of over 10,000 feet, and at a 30-degree angle. Currently, I have to analyse all this myself in the air and save the information accordingly. Here, AI could potentially make an extremely valuable contribution, allowing me to concentrate on making decisions.

Among other things, HENSOLDT is working on the Future Combat Air System (“FCAS”). This is scheduled to become fully deployable around the year 2040. Why is it taking so long to develop?

We are now making a direct leap to the sixth generation of fighter jets. This will be a “system of systems,” that is, an interconnected military system comprising manned and unmanned system components that can be flexibly deployed within the network. This requires a very great number of technological quantum leaps – and that takes time. On top of that, this is an international program involving many different partners from a variety of nations. A mammoth task.

In your opinion, how will fighter jet missions change over the next few years?

The fundamental problems that we are seeking to solve with the military and fighter jets are not going to change. There are probably always going to be people who wish to inflict violence on others or drive them from their homes. The more precisely we can prevent them – while keeping outlay and, most importantly, damage to a minimum – the more successful we will be. That has to be our aim. We should endeavour to be so capable and effective that others don’t have any inclination to engage in conflict. Then we will have done our job.

System of Systems

From a System –
to a System of Systems

From system integration within a single platform, such as the Eurofighter, to the integration of a myriad of highly intelligent systems across a range of platforms: HENSOLDT conceptualizes the future – with FCAS, the largest European defence program of our time.

A Successful Network

What will the fighter jet of the future look like? What challenges does it need to be able to overcome? Will it be manned or unmanned? Will it operate alone or as part of a wider system? Countries and manufacturers around the world are currently considering questions such as these. Europe’s solution goes by the name of FCAS. In fact, the Future Combat Air System already holds many of the answers to the questions above in its name. That’s because FCAS will be more than just a fighter jet, but rather a system that sees a broad spectrum of manned and unmanned aircraft acting together as the Next Generation Weapon System (“NGWS”). From the Eurofighter and a next-generation fighter (“NGF”) through to autonomous drones, multiple platforms will be integrated and interconnected via a planned air combat cloud that is highly flexible, scalable, and interoperable. It will be protected against all kinds of threats in highly complex mission environments, including threats from cyberspace, thus making it future-proof for the next 50 years.

Based on a German-French initiative, FCAS is currently the largest European defence program with a project volume of more than €300 billion. On the German side, the Future Combat Mission System (“FCMS”) consortium holds national responsibility for the FCAS sensor prototype. In the HENSOLDT-led industrial consortium, Diehl Defence, ESG, and Rohde & Schwarz are jointly developing the flexible and networked sensors and effectors for the future NGWS.

In 2021, the consortium successfully completed its preliminary conceptual work, thus marking the end of the first project phase. In 2022, the project will move into phase 1B, which will be focusing on the development of the first sensor prototype.

The Maker of the System of Systems

HENSOLDT already offers globally proven air-assisted radar and signals intelligence systems; fire control sensors; and technologies for Identification Friend or Foe (“IFF”), target detection/combat and threat defence for numerous manned and unmanned aircraft types. Day and night, these technologies supply on-the-ground military leaders with all necessary and relevant information in the airspace and ground terrain of an operation.

HENSOLDT recognized at an early stage that the true power of these technologies lies in the fact that they are interconnected – because, in response to increasingly complex deployment scenarios and threat situations, the mission systems of the air need to be fitted with increasing levels of intelligence. This is why HENSOLDT is powering forward with its own transformation into the Sensor Solutions House, whose integrated system solutions provide a comprehensive picture of all relevant information. In the Eurofighter, the HENSOLDT sensor system already collates mission data within the platform.

With FCAS, HENSOLDT will take this expertise to the next level: The idea is that the data from the sensor systems of all participating platforms will be merged and made available for all systems within the network on a decentralized basis – within the system of systems. That is the responsibility of the national research and technology project Multi-Platform-Sensor Data Fusion and Sensor Resource Management.

The most significant challenge lies in the fact that the quantity of data that needs to be processed, analysed, and presented in real time will continue to increase. After all, every fraction of a second counts in fighter jets traveling at supersonic speeds. HENSOLDT is responsible for the necessary software, which – along with its protection against cyberattacks – will be developed as part of the second national FCAS research and technology project, “Electronic Warfare.”

It is the intention of all partners involved that FCAS will be the world’s most cutting-edge system of its kind. As a provider of integrated system solutions, HENSOLDT will play a pivotal role in developing not only the individual subsystems, but also the overarching system.

Success in the Clouds

The fighter jet of the future and its companion systems will be a central element of the Future Combat Air System (“FCAS”). However, it owes its true superiority to the interconnected sensor and effector systems in tandem with the planned air combat cloud. HENSOLDT technologies play a vital role in each of these development areas.

Even the name Next Generation Weapon System (“NGWS”) grabs attention in its own right. The idea is a next-generation fighter jet that operates in harmony with autonomous systems, known as “remote carriers.” With previously unprecedented system properties and a wealth of sensors and effectors, some of which can perform multiple tasks simultaneously. Together with existing fighter aircraft such as the Eurofighter, the future Eurodrone, and other unmanned support drones, the NGWS forms the visible core of FCAS. Figuratively in the clouds and therefore not visible at first glance is the second component, which is at least as important – that is, the interaction between networked sensor and effector systems in the air combat cloud. As an ultra-high-speed application based on the principle of edge computing, it gathers and analyses all information in a decentralized manner on the periphery of the system before suitably presenting this information to the various automated decision-making systems and users on the ground and in the air.

It builds on the networked sensor subsystem from HENSOLDT, not only collecting and analysing sensor data, but also performing ultra-high-speed operations and tasks. In the future, data from a variety of sources will be brought together in real time in the air combat cloud. This data will not only originate from the Next Generation Weapon System, the Eurofighter, and drones, but also from other units on the water, on the ground, and in the air – not to mention from satellites and cyberspace.
Artificial intelligence (AI) will play a vital role in this respect by automatically transforming huge quantities of data into tactical information in the space of milliseconds; with the help of augmented reality (AR), this information will be made visible and therefore usable for all, thus facilitating strategic leadership of the mission and in the cockpit. Here, it will assist pilots with decision-making, particularly in demanding and time-critical situations, and relieve them of routine tasks.

Until this stage is reached, there are still some tough challenges to overcome on the road to FCAS. Integration within parallel developments of the partner nations needs to be ensured. The system and all components must be protected against hackers while still remaining highly flexible. After all, numerous technological quantum leaps will be witnessed before the planned launch in 2040. Where possible, these need to be factored in today – and it needs to be possible to integrate them in the future by means of enhanced components. What’s more, deployment scenarios may change in the future.

With its extensive expertise, HENSOLDT will play a key role in this regard, both in tandem with its partners in the German FCMS consortium and with its international network, which has already proven its mettle on many occasions. The first milestones on the road to the most important European defence project of the coming decades have been reached. The future has begun.

Superiority through Information

Superiority through Information

Recent years have shown that conflict and threat scenarios, especially those on the ground, are increasingly becoming highly complex and asymmetrical. In order to overcome the resulting challenges, Germany and France are currently working on a successor for the current Leopard 2 and Leclerc battle tanks. The Main Ground Combat System (“MGCS”) project seeks to develop a cutting-edge ground combat system with armoured vehicles as the central platforms. The first prototypes for specific MGCS technologies are to be developed for real-life deployment settings since 2020. A prototype is planned for 2028 that will illustrate the entire ground combat system.

More Than “Just” a Tank

The MGCS integrates various manned and unmanned platforms within an overarching system. In addition to a new tank, these platforms include further armoured vehicles and multiple UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles).

Value Added through Manifold Systems

MGCS harnesses all available technologies and all those under development: optronic periscopes and cameras, short- and long-range radars, self-protection sensors, jammers, navigation systems, laser communication, and a myriad of other sensors, both on the ground and in the air.

Information Creates Superiority

The data from all platforms and sensors is consolidated within a single system and can be accessed and used by all participants in real time. What is perceived as a threat from inside the tank can be identified by the drone as a civilian; what is not visible, on the other hand, can be classified as a potential hazard. The virtual situation report – which integrates a plethora of data sources and presents them in a clear way – thus delivers information superiority.

AI Assistance

Artificial intelligence and augmented reality assist with the analysis and presentation of the data in the form of a comprehensive situation report and are able to provide concrete recommendations for action.

Protection by Self-Protection

Multiple sensors enabling navigation in restricted visibility and autonomous driving on difficult terrain, as well as highly automated self-protection and interference systems, keep vehicles safe – including from cyberattacks.

More Than “Just” a Tank
The MGCS integrates various manned and unmanned platforms within an overarching system. In addition to a new tank, these platforms include further armoured vehicles and multiple UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles).
Value Added through Manifold Systems
MGCS harnesses all available technologies and all those under development: optronic periscopes and cameras, short- and long-range radars, self-protection sensors, jammers, navigation systems, laser communication, and a myriad of other sensors, both on the ground and in the air.
Information Creates Superiority
The data from all platforms and sensors is consolidated within a single system and can be accessed and used by all participants in real time. What is perceived as a threat from inside the tank can be identified by the drone as a civilian; what is not visible, on the other hand, can be classified as a potential hazard. The virtual situation report – which integrates a plethora of data sources and presents them in a clear way – thus delivers information superiority.
AI Assistance
Artificial intelligence and augmented reality assist with the analysis and presentation of the data in the form of a comprehensive situation report and are able to provide concrete recommendations for action.
Protection by Self-Protection
Multiple sensors enabling navigation in restricted visibility and autonomous driving on difficult terrain, as well as highly automated self-protection and interference systems, keep vehicles safe – including from cyberattacks.
Aalen vier Personen

Consolidated Expertise

MGCS poses a challenge for all HENSOLDT divisions. At the new Innovation Hub in Aalen, the company is directly consolidating its expertise from the relevant departments, thereby creating scope for the development of integrated solutions. New interfaces are emerging, including with partners and customers.

The strength of MGCS lies in the integration and networking of optoelectronics, radar, self-protection, electronic combat capabilities, and laser communication across all vehicles to form what is – thanks to augmented reality – a clear and user-friendly overall system. To this end, HENSOLDT is developing virtually all the necessary electronic, sensor, and optoelectronic solutions. Automated data analysis using artificial intelligence is also currently being developed by HENSOLDT. Drawing on intelligent algorithms, it will be capable of continuous learning, including in terms of analysing the current deployment profile.

Therefore, a considerable part of the Main Ground Combat System (“MGCS”) revolves around interfaces, with cooperation in the company and beyond evolving with a similar degree of fluidity. Indeed, interfaces with the partners involved are also becoming more numerous and complex. Take the suppliers, for instance, who will deliver technologies such as meteorological sensors. Or the other systems providers, who are responsible for aspects such as the tracks and the weapons themselves. And, of course, future MGCS customers.

With this in mind, HENSOLDT has consolidated all required expertise within its new Innovation Hub in Aalen, thereby ensuring streamlined cooperation. On the basis of the open-door principle, partner companies and customers are involved in development at an early stage here. Regular feedback paves the way for the network – both on the partner level and internally – that will be so critical to the success of the future MGCS. After all, the comprehensive situation reports that make MGCS so unique can only be produced by networking all technologies and their data.

The Innovation Hub brings to life the development of this overall picture: In the simulated situation room, a wall of 16 video screens shows the situation report. Here, employees and visitors see their precise location in satellite images within the context of a simulated threat scenario. Also visible, for instance, are images showing a tank with the See Through Armour System (“SETAS”). Visitors can operate the SETAS cameras using a controller while the vehicle on which the cameras are fitted drives through Aalen.

Patrick Mayer

Patrick Mayer, Sales Manager, Naval & Ground Radars

“Here, I have much more creative freedom which enriches my work. An incredible amount of ideas and inspiration occurs through direct communication with a whole host of colleagues.”

Jan Erbe

Jan Erbe, Head of Ground Based Systems

“In Aalen, we are exceptionally advanced. And beyond Aalen, we have also grown together across sites by virtue of closer digital cooperation in recent months. Communication with our customers is now also more flexible and situational.”

Thomas Welzenbach

Thomas Welzenbach, Project Manager MGCS

“The Innovation Hub has become a place of dialogue that is getting us even closer to our customers. Here, we are developing a kind of living exhibition. Our customers always see the very latest progress in our developments – in a true-to-life way. And their feedback is immediately incorporated into the ongoing process. What’s more, we are experiencing the ONE HENSOLDT ethos in the close cooperation between divisions.”

Mathias Laich

Mathias Laich, Program Leader Networked Systems

“There has been a start-up spirit in Aalen from day one. We are exploring new ideas together. External visitors sense this too and share their innovative ideas with us. Here, we are taking the notion of networking to the next level.”

MGCS Fleet

Many Technologies – One System

With its extensive integration of numerous technologies within a multi-mission sensor system, MGCS offers a blueprint for the solutions of Sensor Solutions House HENSOLDT.

That is because MGCS bridges the gap between the myriad of electronic and optoelectronic sensors. Between the multi-mission radars, which scan a radius of up to 40 kilometres, and the 360-degree panoramic view in the short-range scope. Between self-protection systems – including those guarding against explosive devices – and friend-or-foe detection. Between signal interference systems and the defences against cyberattacks, interference-resistant laser communication, and much more.

Many Technologies


The central information processing unit analyses the information from all sensors together. In the next development stage, with the HENSOLDT CERETRON, data sharing between the platforms involved will be performed in near real time, partly thanks to artificial intelligence. As such, the CIPU will become the electronic brain.



Thanks to the See Through Armour System, the crew of an armoured vehicle can see through its armour. People can be detected at distances of up to 300 meters, with the crew automatically alerted by means of intelligent algorithms.



Whether pedestrians, drones, birds, helicopters, tanks, or projectiles: The SPEXER 2000 3D MkIII radar identifies and distinguishes between any kind of object, whether large or small, whether fast or slow. It can handle up to 300 targets simultaneously at a range of 40 kilometres. The latest version of the radar even enables this capability while the vehicle is traveling.



The Multifunctional Self-Protection System (“MUSS”) for armoured vehicles detects threats and enemy fire at a sufficiently early stage and can automatically initiate the necessary countermeasures. The second generation of MUSS, which HENSOLDT is currently developing, will once again boast significantly enhanced capabilities in terms of aircraft, projectile, and laser detection.

HENSOLDT in Space:

a Look into Infinity

HENSOLDT technology has been delivering images of and insights into space ever since the first Moon landing. HENSOLDT has now made its latest achievement, with its special optics enabling the James Webb Space Telescope to observe galaxies billions of light-years away.

After about 25 years of planning and development, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) was launched into space on an Ariane 5 rocket from the Guiana Space Center at the end of 2021. Roughly one month later, JWST reached its final position approximately 1.5 million kilometers away from Earth, where the successor to the famous Hubble telescope will now orbit the sun in parallel with Earth. JWST, named after the former NASA administrator, is considered the most complex unmanned space project of all time. This is not least because of its 6.5-meter primary mirror, which is pieced together in orbit using the greatest level of precision. Scientists expect that JWST will give them new, groundbreaking findings about the creation of galaxies, stars, and planets in the universe.

The key elements on board are two instruments for looking at galaxies billions of light-years away. HENSOLDT collaborated closely with the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy Heidelberg (MPIA) to make significant contributions for both these instruments, which are called the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) and Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec). The technology from HENSOLDT consists of cryomechanisms, which are moving parts that can be operated at extremely cold temperatures, as well as spectrally splitting optics, which when combined with selective imaging are what enable a look into the depths of space.

When developing them, HENSOLDT was able to draw on decades of space experience dating back to the first Moon landing. As a key European industry supplier of optical, optoelectronic, and electronic space-travel technologies, HENSOLDT has the technology needed for the development and comprehensive testing of these technologies at its sites in Ulm and Oberkochen.

Once a spacecraft has lifted off, it is too late for repairs and maintenance. That is why each element is tested beforehand in thermal vacuum chambers with optical access and vibration- and electromagnetic-testing equipment and in environmental chambers. These elements are then manufactured in class 100 clean rooms. Each individual component as well as the systems as a whole are highly sensitive and must be precisely calibrated and able to withstand extreme stress. After being subjected to vibration at speeds many times more than Earth’s gravity, they are then used for decades-long missions in utterly inhospitable conditions and at temperatures close to absolute zero (–273 degrees Celsius).

JWST is, currently, the pinnacle of a series of space missions that HENSOLDT has been and is involved in. Thanks to its optical instruments for weather satellites, radar sensors for modern SAR satellites, components for reconnaissance satellites, and instruments for research missions, the company is now a sizable force in Earth’s orbit and far beyond. An experience that space agencies such as NASA in the US, ESA in Europe, CNES in France, and DLR in Germany appreciate.

The next project has already reached the final stretch: the ESA’s JUICE orbiter, which will lift off for its journey to Jupiter in 2023. The objective for the “JUpiter ICy moons Explorer” will be to investigate the surface of our solar system’s largest planet and its three icy moons, Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto, which will include studying their inhabitability and potential landing sites for future missions. Space technology from HENSOLDT will then again be on board.

HENSOLDT Business Fields in Space


Planet and Space Observation

Whether surveying the Earth’s surface, analysing ecological interdependencies or monitoring the weather. Whether investigating the planets and moons of our solar system or looking at distant galaxies. The special technologies from HENSOLDT are developed for the exceptional challenges of space missions and deliver new insights and crucial findings.

Optical Communication

Optical Communication in Space

The future of data transmission is optical. This is the only way it will be possible to manage ever-growing streams of data. Laser-light data-transmission systems from HENSOLDT enable secure communication for any civil or military application and can transmit over distances of more than 5,000 kilometers, from Earth into space and back.

Protection in Space

Protection in Space

There are currently 20,000 objects larger than ten centimeters and 700,000 objects larger than one centimetre orbiting the Earth, which makes them a potential danger for active satellites. HENSOLDT technology helps to identify these threats sufficiently far in advance. Meanwhile, electronic and cyberattacks present risks of a completely different kind. The secure IT foundation provided by HENSOLDT combines hardware and software into a single system with comprehensive protection.

Space Consulting

Space Consulting

The extensive experience that HENSOLDT has gained from numerous space missions also offers benefits for its new Space Consulting field of business. It features the three core areas Product Security, System Competence, and Management Consulting – and specialists who provide support in all the technical areas associated with complex space technology: systems, optics, electronics, software, thermal and mechanical technologies, and production and design.

Diagramm Weltraum Entwicklung