Persistent Systems, a New York City-based global communications technology company, has introduced a portable antenna system to incorporate unmanned aerial vehicles into a networked battlefield.

The auto-tracking antenna system is an easily collapsible ground-to-air antenna that operates on the Wave Relay mobile ad hoc network (MANET), which Persistent Systems manufactures, a news release said.

Persistent Systems hopes the antenna could be used in Special Operations Command’s Mid-Endurance Unmanned Aircraft Systems III program.

The 5-foot parabolic dish is designed to be deployed within 15 minutes and can track and rotate to follow MANET-connected technology in the air, expanding the network bubble. Persistent Systems predicts this will reduce costs by decreasing dependence on satellite communications.

The antenna will be able to act like a locally controlled low-Earth satellite for a lower cost, a company source explained.

The IP67-rated antenna system, designed for any weather environment, has interchangeable S-Band, L-Band and C-Band MIMO feeds and supports high data rates, video and voice communications up to 130 miles, yet can be stored compactly and fit into a standard-sized SUV, according to the Persistent Systems press release.

The auto-tracking antenna system is expected to improve full-motion video and sensor data transmission from drones and is automatically calibrated to reduce user error.

The antenna could be used to improve communications for customers such as the Army, Navy or foreign customers a company official said.