Wednesday, October 4, 2023

HENSOLDT Presents Twinvis Passive Radar System: To See Without Being Seen

By Staff Correspondent

HENSOLDT, the provider of the state-of-the-art Air Defence and Weapon Locating Radar COBRA, now presents its passive radar system Twinvis. With the Twinvis passive radar, HENSOLDT has revolutionised classical radar technology. This system does not emit any signals itself, which means that it remains virtually invisible. Nevertheless, it can even locate aircraft equipped with stealth technology.

For the first time, Twinvis allows the airspace to be monitored over a radius of up to 250 kilometres, without emitting radar signals. Open for integration into several infrastructures such as buildings, shelters or vehicle, this radar’s possible uses are almost unlimited, ranging from military air surveillance in critical environments to support of homeland security through windfarm resistant performance and potentially air traffic management applications.

Conventional radar systems all work using the same principle: they emit signals that are reflected by an object. The radar in turn visualises that object based on the echo received. Twinvis follows a radically different approach: the system uses the countless radio signals which are already in the air from broadcast and TV transmitters and evaluates their echoes when reflected by an object.

More Security

For politics and business events, safety is a key issue. In this context, it would be possible to use a mobile Twinvis to even track small aircraft without transmitting any signals of its own. Thanks to its innovative, light weight and low power consumption technology, it can be installed directly in valleys and monitor the airspace, which was only possible with a great deal of effort, if at all, with conventional radar systems.

And that is just one of many applications. In addition, Twinvis could, for example, detect the aircraft of smugglers in a specific region, support GBAD systems with its silent radar component to avoid long emitting periods of the active radar assets, or cost-effectively supplement conventional radars in air traffic control. As it doesn’t broadcast any signals, it can even be used without any additional official approvals. 

This ‘super radar’ is made possible by the extension of the computing performance and by a speciality of HENSOLDT: a highly sensitive, multi-channel digital receiver technology, which makes it possible to locate radar echoes that are up to ten billion times weaker than the output signal, for as many as 25 transmitters at the same time.

Twinvis placement; Image Courtesy: HENSOLDT

No Visibility

In the military field, Twinvis even combines several advantages. In addition to its high mobility, the system itself remains ‘invisible’, that means that it cannot be jammed or eliminated in a targeted action. At the same time, it can also be used to discover previously undetectable stealth aircraft that conventional radar systems cannot not pick up because of the low observable technology.

Stealth technology prevents an aircraft reflecting conventional radar signals into the direction of arrival. It absorbs the large part of these signals and the remaining reflected portion is scattered by the surface of the aircraft and thus undetectable. 

Twinvis counters this technology by exploiting frequencies from broadcast and TV signals not being absorbed by stealth surfaces. Also, due to the distributed, so called multistatic placement of transmitters and Twinvis, targets not reflecting into the direction from where they were illuminated is not obstacle to Twinvis, hence stealth aircraft become visible.

Ready To Serve The Market

A single Twinvis can monitor airspace over a radius of up to 250 kilometres. Up to 200 aircraft are visible at the same time in 3D (range and altitude). Moreover, several Twinvis can be linked up into a networked system so as to monitor even larger areas, coasts or borders. 

Twinvis has already shown what it can do in several impressive demonstrations to military customers, air traffic control organisations and other interested parties.


HENSOLDT is a leading company in the European defence industry with global reach. Based in Taufkirchen near Munich, the company develops complete sensor solutions for defence and security applications. As a technology leader, HENSOLDT drives the development of defence electronics and optronics and is continuously expanding its portfolio based on innovative approaches to data management, robotics and cyber security. With more than 6,500 employees, HENSOLDT achieved a turnover of 1.7 billion euros in 2022. HENSOLDT is listed in the MDAX on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

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