BAE Systems develops Body Wearable Antennas for soldiers

Posted on Sep 12 2011 - 11:44pm by Thomas Sharp

Global defense and security company BAE Systems has developed a series of antennas that will reduce the load soldiers have to carry while providing them with connectivity and high-level battlefield data.

The newly developed antenna, called the Body Wearable Antenna (BWA) enables soldiers to communicate with other soldiers without the need for the usual radio whip-antennas that weighs a lot. By weaving the antennas into soldiers’ uniforms, it allows very effective communication and helps improve agility. A BWA concept has been developed to showcase the technology, which can transmit voice and video data from a helmet-mounted camera, and GPS locations through the same antenna.

This can improve the situational awareness of a team, enabling soldiers to communicate with the team easily and allowing them to see through the team mate’s eyes in real time. A soldier can alert a team via his helmet-mounted camera when he spots a situation. The BWA links with a wrist-mounted smartphone and uses its sensors to allow the team to tag objects like potential hazards that will appear highlighted on the image displayed by the phone.

“Frontline soldiers carry a huge amount of weight when on patrol,” said Jon Pinto, Antennas and Electromagnetics Group Leader from BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre. “Research into body wearable antennas has shown we could reduce this burden and in the future give forces improved communication capabilities and a significant advantage on the battlefield.”

The technology’s applications will go beyond the defense industry, as the company is currently testing incorporating BWAs into firefighters’ and police officers’ suits.

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