Persistent Systems Auto-Tracking Antenna Adds Aircraft to Network, Enhances Data Sharing

New antenna system incorporates air assets, including unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), into a mobile ad hoc network to facilitate high-speed, reliable data sharing.

The Auto-Tracking Antenna System, a new portable, ground-to-air antenna from Persistent Systems LLC in New York, incorporates aircraft into the Wave Relay mobile ad hoc network (MANET) to boost connectivity, communications, and distribution of critical sensor data, including full-motion video, on the networked battlefield. The precisely aimed tracking system works with the MPU5 radio and Wave Relay MANET to optimize connectivity and reliable communications to enable manned and unmanned aircraft  to communicate further than ever before, officials say.

Wave Relay, Persistent Systems’ patented and secure Mobile Ad hoc Networking (MANET) system, transmits and receives data, video, voice, and other applications under the most difficult conditions in commercial, military, government, industrial, agriculture, robotics, and unmanned aircraft systems  (UAS ) applications.

Designed for ease-of-use, quick assembly, and portability, the Auto-Tracking Antenna System can be assembled and deployed in less than 15 minutes. The portable, lightweight design is collapsible, with the main five-foot parabolic dish breaking down into eight individual petals. The entire system fits into most standard-sized SUVs for easy transport and compact storage.

“Our customers require a system that is simple to put together, turn on, and works,” explains Louis Sutherland, vice president of business development at Persistent Systems LLC. “They want to extend the Wave Relay MANET out to aircraft and achieve high data-rates and reliable high-definition (HD) video transmission. The Auto-Tracking Antenna System truly delivers.”

The new 2x2 MIMO antenna is multi-band, long-range, easily transportable, and automatically calibrated to reduce user error. It has a tight beam and a high signal gain, and has the potential for longer range or greater bandwidth. The large parabolic dish enables video streaming out to distances of 130 miles (over 200 kilometers) while maintaining high throughput and strong signal strength.

Mimicking the MPU5’s modular, radio-frequency (RF) structure, the Auto-Tracking Antenna System has interchangeable S-band, L-band, and C-band multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) feeds that enable it to cover all frequencies where Persistent’s five radio modules operate. 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 less than one-degree pointing accuracy.

“The Auto-Tracking Antenna System represents a major step toward achieving the vision of a truly networked battlefield,” adds Persistent Systems CEO Herb Rubens. “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 satellite communications (SATCOM)” to reduce cost and increase network availability.

The use of innovations such as rocket-assisted artillery and longer-range UAS – also commonly referred to as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones – is effectively expanding the network battlefield and “pushing the fight further out,” industry pundits affirm. Persistent Systems’ new antenna helps connect far-flung forces, essentially mimicking a more cost-effective and locally controlled low-earth satellite with a greater data rate.

Officials anticipate the Auto-Tracking Antenna System and Wave Relay MANET will be used to provide better communications relays and FMV/sensor data transmission to military organizations. Industry pundits speculate that the technology combination could prove useful in public safety, first response, search and rescue, law enforcement, homeland security, and myriad other applications.

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 the mission requires.

Persistent is now accepting orders for its Auto-Tracking Antenna System.

Headquartered in New York City since 2007, Persistent Systems LLC is a global communications technology company that develops and manufactures a patented and secure Mobile Ad hoc Networking (MANET) system: Wave Relay. Wave Relay transmits and receives data, video, voice, and other applications under the most difficult conditions. Its suite of products is utilized in commercial, military, government, industrial, agriculture, robotics, and unmanned systems markets.

Courtney E. Howard  is editorial director and content strategist at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group. Contact her by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..