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Sonia Gracia Anadón: CROWN - first step towards EU program for a multifunction RF AESA-based system

We are talking with one of the CROWN experts, dr. Sonia Gracia Anadón from INDRA, who is the leader of the project. 

 What are the main responsibilities and activity areas of INDRA in the CROWN project?


Indra is coordinating the project management activities considering all the available assets, variables, costs, communication performance, risks and quality levels allowing all the participants to collaborate into the best conditions during co-located and remote working sessions. The company holds the duty to interact with EDA providing progress reports and relevant information during the evolution of the project. Moreover, Indra leads the technical activities on WP6 – Digital Beam Forming and WP9 – Lab demonstration and the management activities on WP1 – Project Management. Indra also participates in rest of the project work packages covering tasks like requirements and architecture definition and other technical activities related to the antenna, resource manager and compact transmit-receive module definition and implementation. 


What does it mean for INDRA to coordinate the CROWN project?


CROWN proposal is a first step towards an EU program for a multifunction RF (radar, EW, communications) AESA-based system, using technology without end-user restrictions in TRL7, for a single aerial platform by 2027. Being the coordinator of the project will make INDRA to be on the first line for future development multifunction systems having the full access and know-how of the state of the art of the technology.


What is the scale of the CROWN project (different countries, knowledge and skills, personnel, etc.)? What is the importance of the CROWN consortium here?


The consortium is composed of 11 entities from 7 different countries. CROWN counts with a strong consortium with participation of the most relevant defence industry actors and research centres in Europe. 

The consortium shares relevant skills, experience, and expertise in such a way that every partner complements each other, and this increases our chances of success. CROWN team is composed of an interdisciplinary community from different academic disciplines and professions, who are engaged in working together to address our common challenge, a European Multifunctional RF System.


Why is the CROWN project important in the context of strategic autonomy of the European Union?


Josep Borrell, EU High Representative, declared in 2020 that World has changed, and Europe must work for autonomy. Otherwise, it will be difficult to see Europe acting like a key global player in good position, losing weight in the World GDP. 


Strategic autonomy is fully compatible with already existing links. It is not conceived for isolation. This Strategic Autonomy will help to reinforce and complement our cooperation and alliances with international partners being Europe a strong partner with high capabilities. In other way, Europe has a good position in advanced military RF systems and must be also prepared to solve conflicts by itself. Europe needs therefore to develop its own defence capabilities and industry to improve the Strategic Autonomy. Strategic autonomy is not only limited to defence field, but also important in other fields as commerce, finance, food, health or energy.


How does the CROWN project look in a worldwide context?


CROWN is the European Research and technological project for the future development of a high performance European Multifunctional Radio Frequency AESA System, which combines radar, electronic warfare, and communication functions.


The project has become a reality thanks to the Preparatory Action in Defense Research (PADR) launched by the European Defence Agency. There is a strong need to design compact, high performance, and lightweight multifunction RF systems. The goal is to ensure EU autonomy of a system prototype for military end-users by 2027.


In short, CROWN project will contribute to equip our military forces with the most advanced technology, high-performance systems increasing their capabilities and placing them to the forefront of defence.


What would be the best indicator of success of the CROWN project for you as a leader of this project?


Indra is managing the project considering all the available assets, variables, costs, communication performance, risks, and quality levels to allow all the participants to collaborate into the best conditions during co-located and remote working sessions. Having a demonstrator of the multifunction RF system by the end of the project in time and within the proposal budget will be the key indicator for the success of the project.




Sonia Gracia Anadón with a degree in Physics by the University of Zaragoza (Spain) is currently Project Leader at Airborne System department at INDRA being the Project Coordinator of CROWN, REACT projects and Project Leader of EUDAAS and EXCEED. She started her career as a system engineer for defence applications being involved in activities associated with the development of a product, system, or piece of equipment. Including all the technical efforts required to design, develop, and validate a range of system solutions, i.e., the processes, product and skills needed to meet the customer's requirements. She continues her professional path at INDRA at projects related to border surveillance, critical infrastructures and other security systems being the Project coordinator of European Security Projects (e.g., SEABILLA, OPERAMAR, BASYLIS, PELGRIN, ABC4EU).


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