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A mobile ad hoc network (MANET) is a dynamic communication network formed by a collection of autonomous mobile nodes. A MANET offers a cost-effective solution for communications in areas where infrastructure is unavailable, e.g. disaster recovery situations and military applications. It especially suits the needs of the so-called airborne Internet, where air-to-ground and air-to-air connectivity involving mobile units is required. Traditional MANETs operate in the radio frequency (RF) spectrum, where the available bandwidth is facing the challenge of rapidly increasing demands. Free space optics (FSO) provides an attractive complement to RF wireless MANETs because of its high bandwidth and interference-free operation. In this paper, we present our preliminary research efforts in investigating the possibility of enhancing the performance of MANETs by introducing an FSO module to the communication nodes. Computer models involving such a module were created in the environment of OPNET modeler, a network simulation software package. Various issues related to the performance of such networks were simulated and analyzed. The analysis is of great assistance in the design and implementation of such next-generation MANETs.