Sunday, June 23, 2024

Sensor Powerhouse HENSOLDT Fuels India’s ‘Self-Reliant’ Vision: Exclusive Insight From MD Andleeb Shadman

By Kamal Shah

Amongst all the top foreign suppliers of military defence equipment, HENSOLDT has been supporting the Indian Armed Forces through different entities and Indian partners for decades. With its headquarters and production site located in Germany, HENSOLDT is a leading provider of high-tech defence and security solutions including radar, optronics and electronic warfare (EW) products. Indian Aerospace & Defence’s Editorial Director, Kamal Shah had the opportunity to talk to Mr. Andleeb Shadman, the Managing Director of HENSOLDT Private Limited, India to discuss with him the current role and plans of HENSOLDT in the country ahead of the iconic Paris Airshow 2023.

Q. What are the key business areas and footprint of Hensoldt in India?

Ans: HENSOLDT is a leading company in the global defence industry with its HQ at 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.

Though the name HENSOLDT is new, the company has a rich heritage that dates back several decades. Over the years, HENSOLDT has evolved through various mergers and acquisitions, bringing together a diverse range of expertise and capabilities. HENSOLDT has almost two decades long history of supporting “Make in India.” We have been collaborating with the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD), Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU) and Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) to provide state of the art Indigenous sensors for Indian platforms. 

HENSOLDT’s new Kalaetron Radar Warning Receiver protects fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters against even the most sophisticated radar threats (Graphics: HENSOLDT)

Q. What is the company’s current focus and how is it contributing to the growth of the industry in India?

Ans: We believe that the Indian armed force has been undergoing rapid technological transformation to meet the ever expanding need of battle field superiority. We are sanguine and committed to the national vision of ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in Indian Defence sector. Our business plans are built on Transfer of Technology (ToT), Local Production and Joint development based Industrial collaborations.

We have gone much beyond traditional Built-to-Print (BtP) manufacturing and have offered unique and pioneering Industrial collaboration  model for specific products to Indian DPSUs and MSME such as

  • Transferring the design and manufacturing to India including Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs)
  • Co-development of the Products with several Indian IPRs for Indian and world market
  • Indigenous manufacturing content upto 60%

Q. Which HENSOLDT products are you offering to the Indian market? 

Ans: We are currently maturing our Industrial partnership network to offer the following Indigenous products to Indian customers:

  • Obstacle Avoidance Systems (OAS) consisting of LiDAR Sensor and Pilot assistance system for Degraded Visual Environment (DVE) conditions
  • Self Protection Systems for Helicopters and Fixed wings consisting of Missile Warning System, Laser Warning System and Fully Digital Radar Warning Receiver with Artificial Intelligence (AI) inside. 
  • Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) Sensors suite for Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) and Fixed Wing Mission Aircrafts consist of Mission Management Systems, Multifunction ISR/Synthetic-Aperture Radar (SAR) Radar, Electronic Support Measures (ESM)/Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) system (0.5 – 40GHz), Electro-optics Systems and Datalinks (Both LoS and Multipoint). The Integrated Airborne Sensor suite is highly customisable with respect to desired CONOPS to meet various mission needs.
  • Integrated EW System for Plains, Deserts and Mountains Light Vehicle 
  • ‘Periscope and Optronics Mast System (OMS) for submarines
  • Counter Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (C-UAV) system
  • Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICF) Protection and Situational Awareness
LIDAR based Obstacale Avoidance System (OAS); (Graphics HENSOLDT)

Q. Can you tell us about some of the innovative technologies and products that HENSOLDT has developed in recent years?

Ans: As a high-tech company with a global brand, innovation is intrinsic to HENSOLDT’s DNA. Accordingly, the company has invested significantly in research and development (R&D) in recent years and supports in-house innovation. Through the development of ground-breaking key technology, HENSOLDT helps to protect soldiers, security personnel and critical infrastructure. HENSOLDT’s main areas of activity include intelligence and reconnaissance sensors, solutions for controlling the electromagnetic spectrum and mission avionics systems. The company combines various mission-critical sensor technologies to create package solutions that allow detection capabilities to be substantially improved through sensor and data fusion.

In this way, HENSOLDT helps to avert threats to armed forces and society. The company drives their development in its competence centres at its main sites in Germany, France, the United Kingdom and South Africa. With its proven expertise, HENSOLDT plays a substantial role in multinational future-oriented projects, such as the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) and Maritime Airborne Warfare System (MAWS). HENSOLDT is also very successful at turning innovative ideas into market-ready products, such as the Xpeller counter-UAV system and the Twinvis passive radar.

Mobile counter-UAS system (Photo Courtesy: HENSOLDT)

Q. How does the company approach collaboration and partnerships both in India and globally?

Ans: Collaboration and partnerships are a key aspect of HENSOLDT’s business strategy. The company works closely with customers, suppliers, and other organisations in the aerospace and defense sector to develop integrated solutions that meet the needs of the market. To re-iterate, HENSOLDT is fully committed to the vision of ‘Make in India’ and at present are working closely with various DPSUs and Pvt Indian companies through collaboration and knowledge sharing

Q. How does HENSOLDT see the future of the aerospace and defense industry evolving in the next 5-10 years, and how is the company positioning itself to take advantage of these changes?

Ans: The future of the aerospace and defense industry is likely to be shaped by a number of trends, including the increasing use of unmanned systems, innovative ways of spectrum dominance, increased network centricity and the growth of the commercial space industry. HENSOLDT is well-positioned to take advantage of these changes by continuing to invest in research and development, building strong partnerships, and delivering innovative solutions to its customers.


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