Rohde & Schwarz

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Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co KG
Founded17 November 1933
FounderLothar Rohde & Hermann Schwarz
HeadquartersMunich, Germany
Key people
Christian Leicher, President & CEO, Peter Riedel, President & COO, Andreas Pauly, President & CTO [1]
Revenue2.78 billion (FY 2022/23)[1]
Number of employees
Around 13,800(FY 2022/23)[1]

Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co KG (/ˈrdə ...ˈʃwɔːrts/, German: [ˈʁoːdə ʔʊnt ˈʃvaʁts]) is an international electronics group specializing in the fields of electronic test equipment, broadcast & media, cybersecurity, radiomonitoring and radiolocation, and radiocommunication. The company provides also products for the wireless communications, electronics industry, aerospace and defense, homeland security and critical infrastructures.

In addition to the Munich headquarters, there are regional headquarters in the United States (Columbia, Maryland) and in Asia (Singapore). Worldwide the company has a total of around 13,800 employees[1] in over 70 countries.


PTE and World War 2[edit]

The company was founded by Lothar Rohde and Hermann Schwarz who met while studying physics in Jena. They built their first T&M instrument in 1932, and in August 1933, the Physikalisch-Technisches Entwicklungslabor Dr. Rohde & Dr. Schwarz (known as PTE) started in business.

Ceramic insulation for frequencies above 1 MHz were improved in second half of the 1920s when German firm Hermsdorf-Schomburg-Isolatoren-Gesellschaft, also known as Hescho produced new types of ceramic material with very low loss at RF, due to the absence of iron. These parts were difficult to measure, but PTE developed suitable test equipment.

In 1934, a British manufacturer of electrical insulation placed an order with them for a similar device. In 1937, the small laboratory moved into a former bakery on Tassiloplatz, not far from Munich's Ostbahnhof. Rohde & Schwarz already employed 35 workers and offered 24 different devices in its catalog at this time. In 1938, it manufactured the first portable quartz clock with a weight of 36 kg.

PTE Started a second factory "Messgerätebau GmbH" in 1941 in Allgäu on the Swiss border. The Wehrmacht's sustained demand for radio equipment forced manufacturers to concede their production as part of the militarization of the Third Reich's Economy. The measurement equipment for HF-technology promoted the development of radar and radio systems of Wehrmacht in WW2.[2]

BND / NSA Bad Aibling station, also used as Echelon Field Station 81 equipped with Rohde & Schwarz RF-Sattelit interception technology

Internationalisation after 1945[edit]

After business activities were resumed in 1945, the US Army placed a major order to equip the then United States Air Force base in Erding that ensured the company's continued existence. In the same year the company was renamed Rohde & Schwarz (R&S).[3]

The company became one of the most important suppliers for radar and reconnaissance companies of the newly founded Bundeswehr. The company also quickly worked closely with the German Federal Intelligence Service, which was founded in 1956.

Since 2000[edit]

Although the US secret services operated SIGINT reconnaissance stations in cooperation with BND, for example in Bad Aibling, Rohde & Schwarz's communications were also intercepted by NSA. Rohde & Schwarz is or was on an NSA hit list made public by 2010 surveillance disclosures of Edward Snowden.[4][5]

HAMEG scope with dual logo in 2012

In 2012 R&S acquired the traditional German manufacturer for oscilloscope technology HAMEG. In 2016 the company was fully integrated to R&S and the products only branded with "Rohde & Schwarz".

In 2018 a joint venture with Rheinmetall was established: RRS-MITCOS was designed to develop digital solutions fo German Bundeswehr.[6]

In 2022 R&S acquired the Siegburger company Schönhofer Sales and Engineering GmbH, SSE. The company develops analytic systems for IT and integration of KI analytic tools.[7]

In May 2022, Rohde & Schwarz announced the acquisition of UK based technology training and development company The Technology Academy. The technology company specialises in web-based training in the fields of radio frequency, wireless and microwave engineering technology.[8]

R&S has grown from just over 6,500 employees in 2010 to over 13,000 in 2022 and is represented at 70 locations worldwide. This growth was not exclusively organic, but also included company acquisitions such as Lancom - one of the leading manufacturers of network infrastructure.[9]

In 2023, R&S received a comprehensive contract worth several billion to update the communications systems and equip almost all military units in the German Bundeswehr with its SOVERON digital radio system.[10]


Typical two channel oscilloscope by HAMEG, HM203-6

Rohde & Schwarz greatest attention has always been paid to technology development in the field of interception and encryption technology. The company makes its largest sales in radio communications and radio reconnaissance for military purposes and secret services.

R&S subsidiary for oscilloscopes HAMEG was producing the standard testing equipment for companies, schools and universities in Germany. In 2010, Rohde & Schwarz launched the world's first oscilloscope with a digital trigger.[11]

More than 200 airports deploy Rohde & Schwarz radiocommunications systems. In 2011, the company began selling voice communications systems for air traffic control (ATC). These systems are based on a product from Topex SA, a company in which Rohde & Schwarz acquired a majority interest in 2010.[12]

Rohde & Schwarz SIT GmbH develops crypto products and systems for government agencies, the German armed forces, authorities, the military and private industry. The subsidiary's high-security encryption technology is used for both wireless and wireline communications. As early as 2001, Rohde & Schwarz SIT launched the world's first crypto phone TopSec GSM.[13]

IT-Network technology and cybersecurity[edit]

R&S provides product families for secure communication via WAN-, LAN- and WiFi-networks for business and state authorities.

Military SIGINT, ELINT and EW technology[edit]

R&S provides ELINT systems for comprehensive intelligence gathering capability especially for modern radar signals. Digital wideband recording preserves all signal properties such as instantaneous amplitude, frequency and phase and detects also frequency-modulated continuous wave (FMCW) radars and solid-state radars operating at very low power level.[14]

Radio communication networks for armed forces[edit]

R&S supplies interoperable radio communication systems for military, government and civilian use. Like its competitor Thales, Elbit etc, the company develops software-defined radio devices (SDR). At R&S, radio and telecommunications reconnaissance have always been the highest-earning business areas with a small number of customers.


Soveron is a family of SDR radios for military tactical communication, developed by R&S. The radios work at HF, UHF and VHF spectrums and are based on an internationally common Software Communications Architecture standard with backward compatibility. The frequency spectrum ranges from 30 to 600 MHz; simultaneous transmission of voice and data in each radio channel with up to two voice channels is possible. The "Transect" fast frequency hopping technology provides robustness against jamming attacks. For bandwidth efficient voice compression is a MELPe codec used.[15] Soveron is already used by a number of NATO and non-NATO forces.[16]

When the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine started in 2022, the German government under Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) decided on an off-budget fund ("Sondervermögen") for fitting of German armed forces for example by a state of the art command and information system. Rohde & Schwarz was awarded the contract for 2.9 billion EUR in 2022 for Armed Forces Joint Connected Radio Equipment (Streitkräftegemeinsame verbundfähige Funkausstattung (SVFuA)) and will deliver its Soveron program.

Public known users of Soveron are the Portuguese Army, the Canadian Armed Forces and an unidentified Asian armed force.

Civil analytic and electronic test equipment for microwave and HF[edit]

The company supplies measurement solutions for cellular and wireless technologies from 6G, 5G, LTE, GSM, UMTS/HSPA(+), CDMA2000 to Bluetooth, GPS and wireless Internet access via WLAN and WiMAX. It offers devices for the development and production of chipsets, mobile devices and base stations. Network operators use Rohde & Schwarz products to plan, build and monitor their networks. R&S has developed suitable signal generators and analyzers for 5G and LTE Advanced.

Rohde & Schwarz develops measuring devices for radio links as well as radar and satellite communication systems for the aviation and defense industries. The company also offers complete systems for EMC and field strength meters. These are used for example to detect electromagnetic interference in automotive electronics.

Broadcast technology[edit]

From the early days R&S developed transmitter for various use. After WW II the company developed transmitters and instruments for radio and TV broadcasting. Rohde & Schwarz provides transmitters for analog and digital TV; in the US also in the ATSC standard, in Asia and South-America for ISDB-T and in DVB-T2 for europe.

By acquiring smaller companies since 2015, R&S could offer a whole portfolio also for TV- and radio production, as well as transmitting the program.

Body scanner[edit]

Since 2016, Rohde & Schwarz has been manufacturing body scanners under the product name QPS (Quick Personnel Security Scanner). The devices are used in addition to baggage screening in airport check-in areas and other access-controlled areas.[17]


R&S is equipping German Bundeswehr and German Intelligent agency as well as military and state agencies worldwide. According to their own webpage, R&S has delivered technology to more than 40 navies.[18]

In 2013 it became known that R&S was seeking to sell measurement technology to Iran for its missile program. Rohde and Schwarz wanted to sell its technology to Iran through an intermediary in the UAE.[19]

The NSA spied on a number of German companies, including R&S, and passed this information on to the German Federal Prosecutor's Office and the Customs Criminal Investigation Bureau.[19]


  1. ^ a b c d "Company profile".
  2. ^ "About WWII RADIO SETS". Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  3. ^ "Lothar Rohde". Rohde-Stiftung (in German). Retrieved 2023-10-10.
  4. ^ "BND Intelligence Scandal Puts Merkel in Tight Place". Der Spiegel. 2015-05-04. ISSN 2195-1349. Retrieved 2023-10-15.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Vernetzte Waffenschmieden – Rüstungsindustrie in Deutschland". Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung (in German). Retrieved 2023-10-10.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Rohde & Schwarz enhances digital training offerings through acquisition of The Technology Academy". Electronics360. 4 May 2022. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
  9. ^ "Unternehmensbesuch bei Rohde & Schwarz". Reservistenverband (in German). Retrieved 2023-10-06.
  10. ^ "Bundeswehr-Sondervermögen und Digitalfunk: Geld allein macht nicht glücklich – Augen geradeaus!". Retrieved 2023-10-06.
  11. ^ Microwave Engineering
  12. ^ Bloomberg businessweek
  13. ^ "NIA - NATO Information Assurance".
  14. ^ KG, Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co. "Strategic SIGINT solutions". (in Austrian German). Retrieved 2023-10-15.
  15. ^
  16. ^ André (2020-10-13). "Erster Exporterfolg für Soveron Funkgeräte". Zur Lage (in German). Retrieved 2023-10-12.
  17. ^ "Rohde & Schwarz awarded major security scanner contract | 2016-08-11 | Microwave Journal". Retrieved 2023-10-15.
  18. ^ KG, Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co. "Communication systems | Naval systems". (in Austrian German). Retrieved 2023-10-15.
  19. ^ a b

External links[edit]