MANET Radio & EO/IR Gimbal Integrated onto Tethered sUAS

By Mike Ball / 30 Jan 2021
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Zenith AeroTech Quad 8 tethered drone

Zenith AeroTech has successfully integrated an advanced flight radar, gimbaled EO/IR camera, and mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) radio onto its Quad 8 tethered small unmanned aerial system (sUAS). The work was performed under contract with an unnamed U.S. federal customer, in order to create a system that could support force protection and early warning missions.

The Quad 8 tethered drone can hover at up to 400 feet AGL for hours or days at a time, and is powered from an easily transportable ground power unit. This integration marks the first time that Zenith Aerotech has flown this particular combination of advanced sensor and communications equipment on the Quad 8 platform. The MANET radio, an MPU5 model from Persistent Systems, acts as a radio and data relay that can support disaster recovery operations and provide secure communications. The next step in the project will be to demonstrate the capability of the platform with all these integrated payloads.

Kutlay Kaya, CEO of Zenith AeroTech, commented: “We are very excited to have worked with so many cutting-edge industry partners on this effort. With their collaboration, we were able to have our Quad 8 carry Echodyne’s Advanced EchoFlight radar, Trillium Engineering’s HD45 gimbaled EO/IR camera, and the Persistent Systems MPU5 mobile ad hoc networking radio.”

“We plan to show how we can simultaneously collect high-resolution imagery, both electro-optical and thermal, as well as air- and ground-based radar anomalies and then securely deliver these collections through the MPU5, providing a robust overwatch capability.”

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Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact