Photo above: Dov Sella, RADA’s CEO. “The armed conflict in Ukraine has made the change”
After almot a decade since it entered the short range multi-mission radar market, RADA Electronic Industries believes the market begins to move. This week RADA announced the receipt of $3.5 million in new radar orders from an existing customer which is a leading US military force, and are comprised of recurring follow-on orders for counter-UAV surveillance solutions, along with first order for advanced eCHR radar.
The eCHR is evolved from RADA’s Compact Hemispheric Radar (CHR), currently in use for Active Protection Systems (APS) and Hostile Fire Detection (HFD) solutions for combat vehicles. The eCHR introduces provides increased detection and tracking ranges and advanced beam forming needed for use in APS, Vehicle Protection Systems (VPS), Counter-UAV and perimeter surveillance solutions.
Dov Sella, RADA’s CEO, said there is a growing momentum in the US market, centered around counter-drone (C-UAV) and very short range air defense (VSHORAD) demand. “Our software-defined and multi-mission eCHR radar, ordered at this stage for C-UAV use.” The announcement came only a few days after it was revealed that RADA’s Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radars (MHR) are embedded in the Rafael’s Drone Dome counter-drone solution, which will be delivered to the British Army in the coming months.
Rada’s technology is based on Pulse Doppler, Software-Defined Radars, using armored Active Electronically Scanned Array Antenna. The British Army is the first customer for this system. Several initial systems are being purchased, with additional potential orders in the coming quarters. In fact, Rafael and RADA won the tender published by the UK Ministry of Defense, ahead of the Italian company Leonardo and its radar partner Elta (a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries).
For RADA this is big. The last deals represent movement in the market. It has been more than a decade since the company had started to develop its own Tactical radar systems for ground forces. At the beginning the company had only Rafael as a sole one potential customer. In 2016 Rafael needed small and chip radar for an Active Protection Systems, aimed to protect Israeli Merkava tanks against RPG threats.
But Rafael switched sides and produced the Trophy system in cooperation with Elta. Later, RADA joined the Iron Fist Soft & Hard Kill Active Protection System against RPG, ATGM, HEAT & KE Rounds, made by IMI Systems. They still offer the system to customers and it is under evaluation in the US Army. But sales were rare and by 2016 the company almost reached bankruptcy.
During a meeting with Techtime, Dov Sella said that the armed conflict in Ukraine has made the change: “Western armies were impressed by the effectiveness of the Russian tanks. They entered fighting zones with perimeter defense and short range missiles to neutralize local threats. This, and the American lessons from the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan plus the emergence of the drone threats, brought major armies to realize the importance of short range mobile and multi-mission radars needed to protect their front line forces.”
The result was a turning point in 2017. RADA supplied more than 100 radar systems to the US Marines, and dozens more to the Israeli Defense Force, and now it is preparing itself for near future mass production of radar systems. Accordingly, its Market capitalization (Cap) in Nasdaq jumped from $5.8 million in 2016 to $96 million today. Sella estimates that the first massive orders in this market will start in 2019, the that the big boom is expected in 2020. “According to my calculation, the annual worldwide radar market for Mobile Active Protection Systems may reach approximately $300 million for the next 15 years.”