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Military network-centric communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems to be fielded in the near future will make extensive use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The high data rates and sophisticated networking waveforms to be used in these systems often require a high-gain agile beam antenna subsystem to meet throughput requirements. An antenna subsystem with the required capabilities - that is compatible with the size, weight, power and cost constraints of a UAV - thus becomes an enabling technology for these future systems. This paper presents an example of a Ku-band switched-beam tactical CDL antenna designed for the predator UAV. The paper also discusses emerging technologies for further weight-reducing these antennas, showing a path to a 2-lb switched beam antenna capable of extending these capabilities to very small UAVs.
Date of Conference: 9-15 June 2007