HENSOLDT and ERA forge partnership to advance passive Air Surveillance and Defense

Sensor solution provider HENSOLDT and ERA, a company specializing in Air Traffic Control (ATC) and passive surveillance systems, announced a strategic partnership. The collaboration aims to enhance air surveillance and defense capabilities, with a particular focus on offering the Passive Surveillance System VERA-NG to the German Luftwaffe.
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The HENSOLDT Twinvis passive radar can be combined in the field with the VERA-NG system from ERA (Picture source: Hensoldt)

The primary goal of this partnership is to develop an integrated infrastructure solution that combines ERA's VERA-NG system and HENSOLDT's Passive Radar Twinvis technology. The collaboration aims to fuse data from both systems, creating a deeply integrated air picture.

The partnership brings together two distinct but complementary technologies. ERA's VERA-NG is designed to detect active emissions from targets at long ranges. In contrast, HENSOLDT's Twinvis is a passive radar system that can detect targets at shorter ranges without requiring them to emit signals. The integration of these technologies aims to provide a new level of passive surveillance capabilities.

Twinvis operates by detecting disturbances to existing transmissions from TV and radio broadcasts. This unique approach enables transmission-free 3D air situational awareness and counters stealth aircraft designs. The system operates outside normal radar bands, negating the effects of radar absorbent material (RAM). Twinvis offers advantages over other passive systems, such as not requiring the target to be transmitting and not needing multiple antennas for triangulation. However, adding additional antennas can increase coverage and accuracy.

Twinvis has a range of applications, from air surveillance in city centers to Ground-Based Air Surveillance systems and even as a backup to Air Traffic Control radars. Its low power requirements make it cost-effective and suitable for mobile configurations, allowing for unobtrusive integration into small vans or off-road vehicles.

The VERA-NG system consists of three radiation signal receivers with 360-degree azimuth coverage and a central command post that processes all information from the stations. Utilizing the Time Difference of Arrival (TDOA) principle, VERA-NG is designed for the detection, localization, tracking, and identification of air, ground, and naval targets. It supports long-term, long-range surveillance without alerting neighboring nations and can operate in any weather conditions.

The VERA-NG system has a track record in real-time surveillance and reconnaissance across air, maritime, and land domains. It has been used by NATO and allied countries. The partnership could extend beyond the German Luftwaffe to other European customers, especially at a time when passive surveillance is increasingly recognized as crucial in air defence systems.

HENSOLDT and ERA forge partnership to advance passive Air Surveillance and Defense 925 002

VERA-NG system (Picture source: Era)