The latest issue of Unmanned Systems Technology magazine has a feature article on ground control systems which profiles one of our multi-port MIMO / MANET sector antennas (Part # 1055-330) paired with Avwatch's Mobile Tracking System.

Southwest Antennas has put considerable resources into designing specialized antennas for use with MIMO & MANET radio systems that are now being integrated into unmanned systems and control units. These antennas utilize multi-element architecture to take advantage of multiple data streams and spatial and polarization diversity to improve data throughput and overall RF link distance of connected radio systems in the network.

For applications involving video links and command and control applications with unmanned aerial vehicles, Southwest Antennas products are often deployed on tracking gimbals such as the Avwatch Mobile Tracking Antenna System (pictured).

Avwatch MTS auto tracking system with Southwest Antennas part # 1055-330 L-Band MIMO / MANET panel antenna

The compact size of the Avwatch Mobile Tracking System allows it to be deployed by a single person and makes it particularly useful in highly dynamic air-to-ground applications where both the ground station and the unmanned aerial vehicle are moving, since the Mobile Tracking System is gimbal stabilized and can easily fit on the back of a truck or on the deck of a boat, unlike traditional tracking systems which must remain in a fixed location due to size.

One such example is as a boat operating the command and control system for a deployed UAV while underway, where both the boat and UAV are moving independently and the ground control station on the boat isn’t remaining at a fixed location. The Avwatch Mobile Tracking System is radio agnostic and can track any object providing location details via Cursor on Target (CoT), which includes all major MIMO / MANET radio manufacturers as well as many of the popular gimbal and autopilot systems in use today. Southwest Antennas sector antennas have been used in this configuration to achieve data throughput of 15 Mbps at a range of over 60 miles, allowing for extended operation while easily maintaining a data link with the UAV through tracking provided by the Avwatch system.

The full UST ground control feature article is available to read online.