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German sensor specialist Hensoldt announced on 2 May 2023 that it has successfully concluded the modernisation of core test systems for its Counter Battery RAdar (COBRA) system, which is in service with several NATO armies.

Under a contract worth several million euros awarded by Europe’s Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR) on behalf of Germany and France, Hensoldt has replaced the system’s radar target generator (RTG) and the COBRA Radar Environment Simulator (CRES): key elements of the COBRA test environment that are vital in determining optimum deployment and testing system performance.

The RTG is designed to generate primary radar returns and can be placed in the radar’s far field in order to simulate target trajectories. The new RTG takes into account changes of the user nations’ operational requirements, such as long-term deployments in stationary locations, simultaneous operation of several systems and 24/7 surveillance missions.

Hensoldt has completed the modernisation of core test systems for its COBRA artillery-locating system. (Photo: Hensoldt)

The CRES, meanwhile, is the key element to test and verify COBRA radar performance in a laboratory environment with reproducible target trajectories. It generates artificial radar returns, allowing all kinds of projectiles (such as missiles and mortar and howitzer rounds) to be simulated without the necessity of real transmissions.

COBRA is a mobile radar system for locating hostile artillery and missile positions and for calculating in advance the flight path of projectiles in order to give early warning and enable protective and/or defensive action to be taken. Its first configuration was developed by the Euro-Art International EWIV consortium comprising Hensoldt (then a defence electronics business of Airbus), Thales and Lockheed Martin around the turn of the century for the German, French and British armed forces. Today, a total of more than 40 systems in various configurations have been deployed by NATO and other armed forces within and outside Europe.

Peter Felstead