Persistent Systems, LLC has developed a portable antenna system for mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs) in the battlefield. The Auto-Tracking Antenna System, a portable ground-to-air antenna based on the firm’s Wave Relay MANET technology, is designed to incorporate aircraft and their pilots into a MANET. The easy-to-assemble antenna system supports the mobile battlefield network.
“The Auto-Tracking Antenna System represents a major step towards achieving the vision of a truly networked battlefield,” says Herb Rubens, CEO of Persistent Systems. “The tracking antenna rotates to follow air assets, keeping them connected to the MANET. The air platforms orbit over our users on the ground, extending the MANET bubble and keeping soldiers connected to the enterprise. High-throughput, low-latency connectivity empowers the warfighter and decreases the dependence on SATCOM, which both reduces cost and increases network availability.”
This portable antenna system uses interchangeable antenna feeds for operation at S-, L-, and C-band frequencies. (Courtesy of Persistent Systems, LLC)
The Auto-Tracking Antenna System can be assembled and deployed in less than 15 minutes. The portable, lightweight design is completely collapsible, with the main 5-ft.-diameter parabolic dish breaking down into eight individual petals. The large parabolic dish enables video streaming out to distances of 130 miles (over 200 km) while maintaining high throughput and strong signal strength.
The entire system fits into most standard-sized sport utility vehicles (SUVs) for easy transport and compact storage. It has interchangeable S-, L-, and C-band multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) antenna feeds that allow for coverage of all frequency bands handled by radio modules from Persistent Systems. The antenna feeds twist-lock into place for quick and simple installation. An automatic heading system enables the tracking antenna to self-calibrate prior to operation for greater precision and better than 1-deg. pointing accuracy.
“Our customers require a system that is simple to put together, turn on, and works,” says Louis Sutherland, vice president of business development at Persistent Systems. “They want to extend the Wave Relay MANET out to aircraft and achieve high data rates and reliable HD video transmission. The Auto-Tracking Antenna System truly delivers.” The antenna is IP67-rated and built to endure harsh environments and weather, so it can be setup and left out for as long as needed for the mission at hand.