Army Contracts IAI to Develop a Directional Antenna Control System for MANET

Wireless connectivity and situational awareness of warfighters are critical in current and future warfare. Maintaining network connectivity and achieving situational awareness both require continuous exchange of information across the network, facilitated by reliable, high data rate communication links. Providing high data rate communication is challenging since connectivity has to be provided in a mobile ad-hoc network (MANET) framework, which has a fundamental capacity limit. Further, inclusion of antenna arrays in the MANET framework brings additional challenges. To address this, IAI will develop a Directional Antenna Control System (DACSYS) for radios, without modifying radio waveforms. DACSYS is designed to support a wide variety of antenna systems in general and steerable parasitic antenna arrays in particular. DACSYS modules include hardware, firmware, and software. The hardware includes sensors for estimating 6 degrees of freedom of position of the antenna system, as well as an FPGA and processor to support signal processing and antenna control modules. DACSYS is a retrofit solution providing directional antenna capability to existing radios to reduce their spectrum footprint, improve the data rate, and reduce the effect of interference or intentional jamming. As the number of military radios increases, incorporating advanced multiple-antenna technologies based on waveform modifications is expensive and time-consuming. A solution like DACSYS that provides the same benefits while using existing radios is preferable to a new waveform design. DACSYS can be applied to all software defined military radios and their associated waveforms that currently use omni-directional antennas, which constitute the majority of ground-based military tactical waveforms currently used by the Army. Commercially, it could be used with Wi-Fi hotspots, Cellular/LTE repeaters, or future commercial auto radio/communications.