Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Italian defence electronics specialist Elettronica has successfully launched its first electronic intelligence (ELINT) payload into space, the company announced on 17 April 2023.

Elettronica’s Scorpio system, which was aboard the Space X Falcon 9 launcher that took off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on 14 April, has entered a low Earth orbit. The launch of the Scorpio payload was made possible through a collaboration between Elettronica and D-ORBIT: a space logistics company that provided the Elettronica payload’s ‘satellite taxi’.

Scorpio performs ELINT activities and enables the interception, identification and localisation of terrestrial electromagnetic sources (RF signals) from space, exploiting AI algorithms for information processing and classification. Specifically, this first mission will aim to collect unclassified data on maritime traffic.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base on 14 April 2023 carried 51 payloads, one of which was an Elettronica Scorpio ELINT payload. (Photo: US Space Force)

With this space launch Elettronica has put its capabilities into a new operational domain, being already present with defence systems in the air, land, maritime and cyber environments.

“We are very proud of our arrival in this new domain,” Enzo Benigni, President and CEO of Elettronica, was quoted as saying in a company press release. “The particular experience that derives from the application of skills in the EMSO [electromagnetic spectrum operations] sector in the space domain, represents a strategic resource for Italy’s technological sovereignty in an area that is increasingly crucial for defence and security, including in the civilian sector.”

The electronic warfare systems developed by Elettronica for the space domain will leverage the expertise already acquired in developing systems for cyberspace and will be integrated to protect against cyber threats, the company said in its press release.

Peter Felstead