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Atlas Elektronik AG

Atlas Elektronik AG supplies sonars and sensors, command and control systems for submarines and surface combatants, mine countermeasures systems, unmanned underwater vehicles and torpedoes. In the success story of Atlas Elektronik AG, which specialises in sonar equipment, there are many trailblazing milestones and important aspects that are still being embodied and expanded by our staff today. In the field of sonar technology in particular, Atlas Elektronik AG has been defining the state of the art for decades now with its many innovations, inventions and patents. For over 100 years, new opportunities and markets have represented a daily challenge.

As of 2012 Atlas Elektronik had a workforce of more than 1900 highly qualified employees. About three quarters of all employees are engineers and technicians working at locations and subsidiaries all over the world. Atlas Elektronik is registered in Germany but operates globally: about 70 percent of its sales are generated abroad. Along with the German Navy as “parent navy”, 27 other navies are supplied and supported by ATLAS.

In 1962 VaroAtlas was founded by Atlas Elektronik, Bremen, and Varo Inc, Dallas, as a joint venture. The intention was a "technology transfer" from the USA for static power conversion equipment for the first post-war submarines of the German Navy. In 1966 Krupp took over Atlas Elektronik and, in 1967, sold all shares to Varo. VaroAtlas diversified in land and aviation projects and started a new line of business: Trading and service of night vision devices from Varo. In 1975, by way of executive buyout, VaroAtlas became EUROATLAS. Since 1998 EUROATLAS belongs to L-3 Communications Corporation (NYSE: LLL), an independent, merchant supplier to aerospace, military and commercial primes, offering a wide range of products and services.

Atlas Elektronik AG was a company with 3,300 employees in 1992, 1,600 of whom worked in the defense area. Since 1986, the company had been pursuing an active strategy of enhancing its commercial product lines. Management saw the main prerequisites for a successful conversion as a well-specified and credible political planning process for future defense procurement. Given such planning, combined with general political support for conversion, the company claimed in 1992 that conversion will take 4-6 years. In the absence of political planning, the company believed that full conversion would take 8-12 years.

The firm responded to cuts in the defense budget by enlarging its existing environmental protection markets, e.g., the detection of sea and ground pollution with the help of radar and sonar technology, and electronic guidance systems for traffic flows. The defense divisions planned to focus their efforts on electronic simulation technologies and applications for robots.

The short-run response to conversion implemented by this company consisted of cutting the costs off its commercial products through reductions of overhead and adapting the organizational structure of the firm to its predicted future needs. Long-run consequences were a new direction for its basic research activities as well as a change in the training of the labor force. Executives called for a public-task "environmental protection" program supported and financed by the federal government and claimed that the restrictive changes in export legislation were a main obstacle to a successful conversion.

In December 1996, acting in cooperation with Badenwerk AG (as a dormant partner), Rheinmetall acquires a 51-percent-stake in STN Atlas Elektronik GmbH from the bankrupt Bremer Vulkan concern, the remaining 49 percent being taken over by the third partner of the consortium, British Aerospace. Industrial management of STN Atlas Elektronik is assigned to Rheinmetall. A company with global stature in the domain of defence electronics and civil maritime electronics, STN Atlas Elektronik reinforced Rheinmetall's competence in weapons and ammunition as well as in systems and equipment.

In 1998 Rheinmetall took over the 25-percent-share in STN Atlas group held by Energie Baden-Württemberg (formerly Badenwerk AG), giving the company a controlling interest in STN Atlas GmbH. Effective January 1st, STN Atlas Elektronik spins off its civil electronics activities, transferring them to the newly founded STN Atlas Marine Electronics GmbH of Hamburg.

STN Systemtechnik Nord (later STN Atlas Elektronik) was part of MBB when MBB became part of DASA. STN ATLAS Elektronik GmbH was a German defence company, producing sensors and other electronic or computer components such as Radar, Sonar, fire-control systems, simulations. In 2003 STN Atlas was acquired by Rheinmetall DeTec AG and BAE Systems Germany and split into two companies: Rheinmetall Defence Electronics for land and airborne systems/simulations, as a subsidiary of Rheinmetall, and Atlas Elektronik for naval systems, a subsidiary of BAE Systems.

In June 2005 BAE announced the sale of its German naval systems subsidiary, Atlas Elektronik. In addition to EADS and Thales, Italy's Finmeccanica, Sweden's Saab, German firms ThyssenKrupp and OHB Teledata, and US business L3 Communications were invited to conduct due diligence. On 30 December 2005 EADS and ThyssenKrupp bought Atlas Elektronik from the UK's BAE Systems for 145m euros (£99m) in an all cash deal.

A submarine is only as good as its electronics – and this key element has been developed and manufactured at Atlas Elektronik to a quality standard that is world class. Atlas Elektronik has developed and produced all types of passive and active sonars for submarines: cylindrical array, flank array und towed array sonars are just some of the examples from a comprehensive spectrum of sensors with which ships can be reconnoitred and identified over dozens of kilometres – at ranges and in a quality that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago.

Atlas Elektronik is a technology and world market leader in command and weapon control systems for non-nuclear submarines. Our “Integrated Sensor Underwater System” (ISUS) is based on many years of experience, is tried and tested, is always at the latest technological level and, thanks to its modular structure and open system architecture, can easily be adapted to suit individual customer requirements and diverse operational scenarios. It enables the submarine crew to fully perceive their surroundings and to analyse the situation in detail, permitting a rapid and reliable response.

Atlas Elektronik is a highly competent systems supplier of naval electronics for surface combatants. The ATLAS Naval Combat System (ANCS) is a command and weapon control system of the latest generation. The German Navy is equipping its new F125 frigate with the ANCS, making it one of the most powerful warships of its kind on earth. Thanks to the modular structure of the ANCS, it can be adapted rapidly to different ships and varying requirements. It has all the necessary interfaces to sensors, effectors and communications facilities, with which it can be integrated into network-based operations.

A spectrum of sonars for surface combatants consists of active and passive sonars ranging from the classic bow sonar (hull-mounted sonar, HMS) to low-frequency active towed array sonars, which can satisfy the requirements of almost any conceivable mission scenario with diverse ranges, resolutions and capabilities. For example, the towed array sonars in combination with bow sonars open up a new dimension in anti-submarine warfare, because they surpass the torpedo range of conventionally powered submarines by far.

With the SeaHake DM2 A4, Atlas Elektronik offers one of the most modern and effective heavyweight torpedoes in world, and one that can be launched from both submarines and surface vessels. In terms of speed, range and reliability, this torpedo sets the global standard. Because it is controlled via a fibre-optic cable, it is extremely accurate and resistant to defensive measures. The SeaHake DM2 A4 is part of the 45-year-old torpedo family of Atlas Elektronik, currently used by 18 navies on over 150 submarines.

Submarines and surface combatants are able to protect themselves even against modern torpedoes. With the SeaSpider, Atlas Elektronik has developed a technology that can detect and destroy the attacking torpedoes. This “hard-kill” solution is independent of the torpedo type and therefore highly superior to conventional approaches, which use decoys and similar effectors. The SeaSpider system is unique worldwide and demonstrates the technological excellence of Atlas Elektronik in the sphere of underwater weapons.

The mine warfare systems made by Atlas Elektronik permit the detection and destruction of mines and abandoned munitions at low risk to the ship and crew. For over four decades, we have been setting the standard worldwide in this field. Besides the German Navy, more than ten navies around the globe are deploying mine warfare systems made by Atlas.

Atlas Elektronik has one of the most well-rounded portfolios of underwater vehicles. With the aid of the latest technology, these units are used not only for mine countermeasures and operations in the coastal zone but also for numerous civilian applications. In addition to the SeaFox, Atlas Elektronik also offers the SeaWolf, with a manuverability especially suited to e.g. harbour protection, as well as the SeaOtter, which is able to carry a large range of payloads and meet various requirements, due to its modularity and size.

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Page last modified: 07-08-2012 19:00:34 ZULU