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CROWN project delivers a step towards a European Multifunction AESA System

6 minutes

An active electronically scanned array (AESA) is a sophisticated antenna system known as a phased array. It utilises computer control to adjust the direction of its radio wave beam without physically repositioning the antenna and is commonly used in aerial platforms. Launched in July 2021, with funding from the European Commission under the Preparatory Action for Defence Research (PADR), the project European active electronically scanned array with Combined Radar, Electronic Warfare and Communications functions for military applications (CROWN) focuses on the innovative concept of a multifunctional radio frequency (RF) system, which aims at substantially enhancing future defence capabilities, with specific focus on AESA for manned and unmanned aerial platforms.

On 26-27 February, the eleven consortium members concluded 32-months of work on the CROWN project during the final meeting hosted by Indra. The final meeting focused on the main topics developed within the CROWN project and the results achieved: particularly CROWN demonstrated the different Building Blocks designed during the project and the performance of the demonstrator in a controlled anechoic chamber environment.


CROWN successfully reached its the objective to design, develop and test a compact, lightweight multi-function radiofrequency system prototype, by integrating radar, electronic warfare and communication in one single system, without any end-user restrictions. In addition, the project created a technological demonstrator showcasing the feasibility of the system and its potential to introduce a new enabling capability.

The CROWN project has yielded promising results, establishing a crucial foundation for presenting the CROWN concept. This project also determined necessary investments and outlined research activities essential for further developing a Technology Readiness Level 7 (TRL7) prototype demonstration in an operational environment. The project included, in particular, two connected activities focusing on R&D assessment on critical technologies for the development of future European multifunction radio frequency systems and R&T activities on system and component level. Follow-on activities aiming at producing an EU prototype by the end of 2027 are recommended, also exploiting the EDF framework.


CROWN brought together a consortium of eleven beneficiaries from seven EU countries, led by Indra (Spain): Thales (France), ONERA (France), Hensoldt (Germany), Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniquesv (Germany), SAAB AB (Sweden), FOI (Sweden), TNO (the Netherlands), Leonardo S.p.A (Italy), Elettronica S.p.A (Italy), and Baltic Institute of Advanced Technology (Lithuania). The project had a budget of approximately €10 million.

Crown group



The CROWN project is part of the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) launched by the European Commission in 2017 to assess and demonstrate the added-value of EU supported defence research and technology (R&T). It paved the way for a proper European Defence Programme to come as part of the European Defence Fund (EDF), under the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027).

The PADR implementation is run by EDA following the mandate via a Delegation Agreement between the European Commission and EDA signed on 31 May 2017. By this agreement the Commission entrusts EDA with the management and implementation of the research projects launched within the PADR.