OHB-System AG: SAR-Lupe now officially transferred to Strategic Reconnaissance Command
Strategic Reconnaissance Command (SRC) has today officially taken over the reins of the satellite-based radar reconnaissance system “SAR-Lupe”.
The transfer was celebrated in the presence of the inspector of the Joint Support Service, Vice-Admiral Wolfram Kühn, and around 60 representatives of the German Federal Office of Defense Technology and Procurement (BWB), the German Federal Armed Forces and industry in Gelsdorf.
In a symbolic gesture, Prof. Manfred Fuchs, CEO of Bremen-based OHB-System AG, handed a model of a satellite to Heinz-Joachim Wolf, Chief Director at BWB, who passed it to Vice-Admiral Kühn. He in turn gave the model to the SRC commander, Brigadier General Friedrich-Wilhelm Kriesel, whose staff at the Gelsdorf base are now responsible for controlling the satellite system and evaluating and processing the data collected.
“With this internationally unique reconnaissance system comprising five identical satellites on three orbits as well as two processing segments on the ground, the German Federal Armed Forces are at the global forefront in space-based information collection,” said Prof. Fuchs.
He went on to say that for the first time Germany has in SAR-Lupe an independent satellite-based radar reconnaissance system able to collect information regardless of weather and light conditions. Reconnaissance at any point in the world is possible thanks to the five radar satellites. Vice-Admiral Kühn explained that this provided an important factual basis for political decisions and possible deployment planning for the armed forces.
Continued Kühn: “The Kosovo conflict in 1999 impressed on us the crucial importance of having our own reconnaissance system. Deployment of German forces in Afghanistan as well as the support provided in connection with environmental catastrophes such as the December 2004 tsunami render it necessary to have updated information on prevailing local conditions. In terms of military policy, satellite–based reconnaissance puts us on the same level as other nations. In fact, we are now playing a leading global role in the radar segment.”
The system was developed under the auspices of OHB-System AG with the assistance of numerous subcontractors for BWB. All told, the project cost around EUR 350 million. OHB is responsible for operating the satellites over a period of 10 years.
The system can deliver up-to-the-minute radar images within a maximum of 36 hours. “However, in the vast majority of cases we will be a good deal quicker,” said Brigadier General Kriesel, going on to say that a close German-French reconnaissance partnership had been forged, providing for integration with the French satellite system Helios II to supplement the German radar data with optical images.