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International Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Volume 2010, Article ID 874586, 14 pages
Research Article

Performance Analysis of Mobile Ad Hoc Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Communication Networks with Directional Antennas

1Department of Electrical Engineering, Tafila Technical University, Tafila 66110, Jordan
2Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, USA

Received 8 April 2010; Revised 5 October 2010; Accepted 31 December 2010

Academic Editor: Hyochoong Bang

Copyright © 2010 Abdel Ilah Alshbatat and Liang Dong. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have the potential of creating an ad hoc communication network in the air. Most UAVs used in communication networks are equipped with wireless transceivers using omnidirectional antennas. In this paper, we consider a collection of UAVs that communicate through wireless links as a mobile ad-hoc network using directional antennas. The network design goal is to maximize the throughput and minimize the end-to-end delay. In this respect, we propose a new medium access control protocol for a network of UAVs with directional antennas. We analyze the communication channel between the UAVs and the effect of aircraft attitude on the network performance. Using the optimized network engineering tool (OPNET), we compare our protocol with the IEEE 802.11 protocol for omnidirectional antennas. The simulation results show performance improvement in end-to-end delay as well as throughput.