We are talking with one of the CROWN experts, Mr. Marco Bartocci from Elettronica S.p.A (ELT), who is a R&I System Engineer.
Elettronica S.p.A is one of the valued partners of CROWN consortium. So what are the main responsibilities and activity areas of Elettronica S.p.A in the CROWN project?
Elettronica S.p.A has coordinated the CROWN project Concept and Requirements definition and was involved in the overall system design and architecture of digital Multifunctional RF Systems providing its experience gained over the years in electronic warfare. One of our main tasks regarded the development of the radiating arrays Antennas mainly focused on the High Band Antenna. ELT has contributed to the system modelling to validate the architecture and performance of the system and participated in the Critical Technology Assessment, Digital Beam Forming, RF-Sensor Resource Manager, Transmit Receive Channel and Laboratory System Demonstrator activities led by the other consortium partners.
What were the main concerns during the formation of CONOPS for the future targeted platforms and airborne systems that would use the end result of the CROWN project?
The CONOPS have been defined considering that the future aerial system shall manage new threats: radar systems will face small platforms (UAV) and stealth platforms; EW systems will have to detect Low Probability of Intercept Radar, Multifunction, Cognitive and Noise Radar, PopUp emitters, highly dynamic scenarios; Communications will evolve towards fast hopping and Spread Spectrum.
How would you name, which of the user requirements were the most challenging and most difficult to achieve/define from the perspective of designing and engineering?
One of the most challenging user requirements was the strong need to design scalable, compact, high-performance, and lightweight CROWN MF RF multifunction/multi-domain systems to be deployed even on smaller manned and unmanned platforms for the increasingly used for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions. In addition, another objective was to drive the implementation of European solutions for innovative approaches based on advanced technologies and manufacturing capabilities to ensure the autonomy of readiness for future systems production.
And what kind of present (or future?) airborne platforms would be the perfect examples as the use case for the CROWN result?
The new Compact WideBand digital Multifunction AESA, capable of performing multiple functions (EW, Radar, COMMs), can be integrated onboard small platforms such as Drones, UAV, and next generation fighters to perform self-protection and mutual-protection tasks enabling surveillance even in contested environment.
Let's finish with a little consideration, what would be the best indicator of success of the CROWN project for you as a scientist and an expert?
The main success indicator has been the strong cooperation among the main European industries and research centers involved in the electronic defence area. The multidiscipline area covered by the companies was and will be key to achieving the common goal of a complex and integrated system capable of optimizing its resources for concurrent operation of the EW, Radar and Communication functions.
In terms of innovative technologies, the best indicators of success were the capacity to use the direct sampling, digital beam forming and new digital aspects for the building blocks, enabling the high integration and reconfigurability of the system, improving the sharing of the same HW by optimizing the management of the new multifunctional AESA concept.
Mr. Marco Bartocci graduated in Electronic Engineering in 1985 at the University of Rome "La Sapienza". Marco started working for Selenia S.p.A. as microwave designer for EW applications. In 1992 he moved to Elettronica S.p.A (ELT) with the same position. After an experience in Telit S.p.A. in the research and development group for the RF receiving and transmitting terminal circuits for the Globalstar satellite system, he moved back to ELT as a microwave designer. He subsequently held the position of head of the microwave, antenna, and EW Line-Replaceable Unit (LRU) departments. He is currently employed in the ELT Research & Innovation department as EW Scientist.