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NASA Meatball NASA Dryden F-18 High Alpha Research Vehicle (HARV) banner
F-18 HARV in flight refueling with KC-135 tanker F-18 HARV in flight refueling with KC-135 tanker

Photo Number: EC95-43335-7
Photo Date: Nov 1995

Formats: 558x480 JPEG Image (53 KBytes)
1191x1024 JPEG Image (560 KBytes)
2000x1720 JPEG Image (777 KBytes)

Description: A thrust vectoring system can be seen mounted on the aft end of this NASA F-18 research aircraft at the Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, during an inflight refueling stop with a KC-135A (Serial #55-3135) tanker. The system was used to enhance its maneuverability and control at high angles of attack (high alpha) when conventional aerodynamic controls — ailerons, rudders, and elevators — are ineffective.

The system features three spoon-shaped paddles mounted around the exhaust nozzles of each engine. The system, linked to the aircraft’s flight control system, moves the paddles into the exhaust flow to redirect thrust for directional control and increased maneuverability at angles of attack near 70 degrees.

First research flights with the system operating began during the spring of 1991. Data from the F-18 High Alpha Research Vehicle (HARV) program produced information to validate computer codes and wind tunnel results and led to design methods providing better performance in future aircraft.

Keywords: F-18 High Alpha Research Vehicle; HARV; thrust vectoring; refueling; KC-135; tanker; high angle of attack; AOA

Last Modified: February 6, 2002
Responsible NASA Official: Marty Curry
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