Horstman, a Company of the RENK group is an agile and growing business comprising businesses units in the UK, US and Canada. Providing world leading design and manufacturing capabilities, our customers benefit from our time-tested pedigree in innovation, product development manufacture and defence project management in heavy armoured and tracked vehicle suspension systems.
Horstman led the world in the 1920’s with development of the independent suspension bogie that bears its name, and the company’s influence features on tanks and wheeled vehicles to this day.
With over a hundred highly skilled employees in the UK, US and Canada, we are a high value added, innovative engineering business with a global footprint in both customer base and supply chain. We provide a quality, technically excellent offering to solve customers’ problems, throughout the product life cycle.
The defence heavy armour business has arduous development and testing cycles to ensure that the serving soldier has the best combination of armour, firepower and mobility that they deserve. Horstman provides this balance to our customers – having built our talent base over decades from a combination of industry experts, service veterans and continuous investment in apprenticeships, graduates and training.
At Horstman we pride ourselves on providing a product that exceeds customer expectations. To do this we ensure that Quality is not just a word that is spoken about during the inspection of a part, but something that emanates through the group.
All 3 Horstman locations have a minimum of ISO9001 Accreditation with the UK Site having AS9100 Rev D. For more details on the Quality accreditation for each site please follow the links below.
The late Sidney Horstmann, was the son of German clockmaker Gustav Horstmann, who designed the first micrometer accurate to one ten thousands of an inch (and which is still on display in the Science Museum), originally formed the company in 1913.
Awarded an OBE for services in support of the war effort, Horstmann’s innovative spirit flourished in Britain with pioneering automotive work in the 20’s and 30’s, manufacturing around 3,000 cars; shortening the company name to Horstman and frequently racing at Brookwood and LeMans with some success.
One of his farthest-reaching impacts was the development of alternative suspension systems, most famously the Horstman bogie that was used for both light tanks and the universal “Bren” gun carrier. With over 113,000 built, these were the most produced armoured fighting vehicle of all time and produced in the UK, Canada, and even the US – this was the go-anywhere tracked infantry vehicle of the Commonwealth armies and they saw service in multiple hotspots around the world.
Horstman remained synonymous with the best protected vehicles of the cold war: from the world-export success of the Centurion tank to the workhorses of the British Army of the Rhine in the Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle, the Chieftain tank and then the huge mobility breakthrough provided by their Hydrogas® suspension used in the Challenger Main Battle Tank. Since then Horstman has grown in turnover, workforce, productivity and worldwide footprint.
A Horstman Tale for Valentine’s Day: The Vickers Valentine was a small infantry tank of early 1940’s. Unlike many British tanks of the era, it was well built and reliable. As gun and armour technology developed at a frantic pace the Valentine tank was obsolete as a gun tank by 1942, and the chassis used for other roles such as bridge-layers.
The suspension is also known as the Slow Motion Type – patented by Sidney Horstman and used with success on ubiquitous Universal Carriers and Vickers light tanks. The Valentine’s suspension is not strictly Horstmann’s, but rather is of Sir John Carden’s so-called “bright idea” type. Carden and Horstmann were contemporaries: both innovators, automobile manufacturers and both involved as early pioneers in armoured vehicle design. They will have certainly interacted – if not indeed cooperated – on this and other mobility innovations of the 1930’s.
Horstman is a high value added, innovative engineering business with a global footprint that provides a quality, technically excellent offering to customers. Our core products are in specialist vehicle suspension, with a portfolio balanced by high integrity engineered product in adjacent, complementary, markets.
From design engineering, to project management, CNC machinists to Integrated Technical Support engineers we look for talented, driven people in a variety of fields.
Horstman operates three business units and trades with customers and supplier in more than 28 nations worldwide. Our activities comply with the relevant national legislation for each activity and we tailor our trade compliance plans to ensure that technology, hardware and services are correctly managed. In some scenarios, our customer or end users will require that the export potential of the product is not limited by certain materials, components, technologies or their national origins. We manage the design activity, engineering services and supply chain sources through our three separate entities to ensure that the compliance control plan is met in full.
One commonly request is that a project design and hardware is not subject to licencing restrictions of a third country, such as the ITAR control of the export and import of defense-related articles and services on the United States Munitions List (USML).
- Horstman Systems Defence Systems Limited , is based in the UK and for programmes and complies with UK and EU export control legislation. Data is hosted in UK servers and secure interchanges with sister companies are managed in compartmented data flows to avoid cross-pollination.
- Horstman Systems Inc is based in Canada an complies with Canadian law. Data is hosted in Canadian servers and secure interchanges with sister companies are managed in compartmented data flows to avoid cross-pollination.
- Horstman Inc is based in Michigan, US and activities are subject to the ITAR control for the export and import of defense-related articles and services on the United States Munitions List (USML) as well as the EAR and other US law. Data is hosted in US servers and any interchanges with sister companies are managed under applicable US government licences, such as TAA or MLAs.