Hensoldt ASTUS UAS, EO system, and laser range finders breaks cover

Hensoldt ASTUS unmanned aircraft systems

Hensoldt ASTUS unmanned aircraft systems

Hensoldt South Africa (SA), part of Germanany-based Hensoldt, has launched a model of its ASTUS tactical unmanned aerial systems (TUASs) at the Africa Aerospace & Defence (AAD) 2022 expo held in Pretoria from 21 to 25 September.

The ASTUS UAS is production-ready says Hensoldt, and was made to be low-cost to meet the requirements of African and other countries that may not be able to afford higher-end unmanned systems.

Willie Malan, product manager unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), Hensoldt SA, said, “The ASTUS is designed as a persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance [ISR] platform, and with the integration of gimbal-stabilised ARGOS-8, the UAS will be able to operate as an intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance [ISTAR] platform.”

“During the extensive testing programme, the team also successfully demonstrated the performance characteristics of the UAS, which competes in the smaller tactical UAS space where there are fewer competitors, with a sales focus on tailoring the overall system offering in conjunction with offering an extremely competitive cost of ownership,” said Chris Haines, head of sales, Hensoldt SA’s Optronics business unit.

The ASTUS unmanned aircraft systems was first developed in 2017 by Tellumat South Africa (acquired by Hensoldt in 2021), however, the system has has been upgraded to improve the sensor technology and flight management system to match the requirements of the market. The UAS has been fitted with the latest ARGOS-8 lightweight airborne surveillance and targeting system, which itself was launched at the AAD 2022 expo.

Hensoldt Argos-8 electro-optical system

Hensoldt also makes other solutions including electronic warfare and optronics, spectrum monitoring and security solutions, including radar, identification friend or foe and datalinks. One of its product on display at the AAD 2022 is the Argos-8 light-weight electro optical system and MP10-1 laser range finders for use on small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platforms.

The company unveiled its Argos-8 is an 8-inch-class electro-optical system which offers day and night capabilities for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions. the whole system weighs less than 6 kg. According to South African-based defenceWeb the Argos-8 EO system was developed in collaboration with Estonian drone maker Threod Systems. Both companies signed a development and co-production agreement for the Argos-8.

Hensoldt MP10-1 and NP-1 laser range finder

Also on display at the AAD 2022 is the MP10-1 laser range finder which can accurately mark a target up to 15 kilometres away. The MP10-1 is a self-contained unit consisting of laser transmitter, laser receiver and power and control electronics needed to operate the laser range finger. Hensoldt plans to begin production in South Africa in the first quarter of next year, says defenceWeb.

Hensoldt also showcased for the first time the NP1 laser range finder which is optimized for shorter ranging requirements and mounting on a smaller structure. It can reach a vehicle size target over three kilometres away (maximym range is up to 6 km). Production of the NP1 for international customers began in South Africa a few months ago.

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