CROWN project includes two main and connected activities as first step towards an EU programme for a multifunction RF (radar, EW, communication) AESA-based system, using technology without end-user restrictions in TRL7, for a single aerial platform by 2027:
R&D assessment and recommendations on key critical technologies for the development of future European multifunction RF AESA systems, establishing roadmaps and priorities avoiding dependencies from non-EU suppliers.
R&T activities on system and component level. These activities will be based on the requirements identified from the main stakeholders and on the architecture study fulfilled. Demonstrators for the different levels, system, and component, will be developed taking in consideration the inputs of the R&D assessment to avoid as much as possible non-European technologies for CROWN demonstrators. A broadband antenna, wideband digital beam former (DBF) (electronic scan with multibeam capability in transmission and reception in a HW platform) and an advanced SW resource manager (RSM) (key for the multifunction coordination of the system) will be produced for the system level. At component level research activities will be done for Transmit/Receive modules (TRMs). High power, bandwidth, frequency and tunability are key objectives for the TRMs. Two different open and trustable EU foundries, being one of them part of the consortium, will be used for TRM design, manufacturing, and test. SWaP-C, packaging, cooling and ilities (reliability, manufacturability, etc) are also aspects that will be included at both levels.
New Digital AESA architectures for multifunction system;
Antenna technologies for multifunction shared apertures;
Digital Algorithms and Processing for beamforming;
Artificial Intelligence for smart resource management;
MMIC design using different technologies (GaN, SiGe,…) for compact and tuneable transmit receive modules.
In addition, a small-scale prototype will be also designed, manufactured, and tested in a laboratory environment. Laboratory results will be conveniently scaled to the system level through modelling. System modelling will integrate models from the main building blocks studied (antenna, TRMs, DBF and RSM) to assess the performance of the defined system upon different scenarios.