Research for Defense and Security

Fraunhofer FHR in Profile

Fraunhofer FHR is one of the leading and largest European research institutes in the area of high frequency and radar techniques. It develops customized electromagnetic sensor concepts, processes, and systems for its partners, from the microwave range through to the lower terahertz range.

© Fraunhofer FHR / Jens Fiege

The core topic of the research at Fraunhofer FHR consists of sensors for high-precision distance and position determination as well as imaging systems with a resolution of up to 3.75 mm. The applications range from systems for reconnaissance, surveillance, and protection to real-time capable sensors for traffic and navigation as well as quality assurance and non-destructive testing. Fraunhofer FHR's systems are characterized by reliability and robustness: Radar and millimeter wave sensors are suitable for demanding tasks, even under rough environmental conditions. They work at high temperatures, with vibrations, or under zero visibility conditions caused by smoke, vapor, or fog. Thus, radar and the related high frequency systems, are also key technologies for defense and security. In this area, the institute has been supporting the German Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg) since the institute was founded in 1957.

On one hand, the processes and systems developed at Fraunhofer FHR are used for research of new technology and design. On the other hand, together with companies, authorities, and other public entities, the institute develops prototypes to unsolved challenges. The special focus here is on the maturity of the systems and their suitability for serial production to ensure a quick transformation into a finished product in cooperation with a partner. Thanks to its interdisciplinary positioning, the institute possesses the technical know-how to cover the entire value creation chain, from consulting and studies up to the development and production of pilot series. The used technology ranges from the traditional waveguide base to highly integrated silicon-germanium chips with a frequency of up to 300 GHz.

The ability to carry out non-contact measurements and the penetration of materials open up a range of possibilities for the localization of objects and people. Thanks to the advances in miniaturization and digitalization, the high frequency sensors of Fraunhofer FHR with their special capacities are an affordable and attractive option for an increasing number of application areas.

Staff and Budget Development

The institute's budget comes from several sources of financing: The basic financing from the German Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg), the project financing through funds from the defense budget and the income from the contract research area (Vfa), which in turn can be subdivided into economic revenues, public revenues, EU revenues, others, and the basic financing by the federal government and the federal states. In 2019, in its defense and civil segments, Fraunhofer FHR generated total revenues of 39.0 million euros.

Fraunhofer FHR had a total of 374 employees by the end of 2019, a 5.9 % increase compared to the previous year. Of these, 196 are permanent employees and 123 are temporary employees. The 55 remaining employees are students and apprentices.