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NASA Meatball NASA Dryden F-18 Systems Research Aircraft (SRA) banner
F-18 SRA in flight over lakebed F-18 SRA in flight over lakebed

Photo Number: EC93-42065-6
Photo Date: July 12, 1993

Formats: 539x480 JPEG Image (90 KBytes)
1150x1024 JPEG Image (509 KBytes)
3000x2670 JPEG Image (4,926 KBytes)

Description: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Systems Research Aircraft (SRA), a highly modified F-18 jet fighter, on an early research flight over Rogers Dry Lake. The former Navy aircraft was flown by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California, to evaluate a number of experimental aerospace technologies in a multi-year, joint NASA/DOD/industry program.

Among the more than 20 experiments flight-tested were several involving fiber optic sensor systems. Experiments developed by McDonnell-Douglas and Lockheed-Martin centered on installation and maintenace techniques for various types of fiber-optic hardware proposed for use in military and commercial aircraft, while a Parker-Hannifin experiment focused on alternative fiber-optic designs for postion measurement sensors as well as operational experience in handling optical sensor systems.

Other experiments flown on this testbed aircraft included electronically-controlled control surface actuators, flush air data collection systems, "smart" skin antennae and laser-based systems. Incorporation of one or more of these technologies in future aircraft and spacecraft could result in signifigant savings in weight, maintenance and overall cost.

Keywords: F-18; SRA; Systems Research Aircraft; F/A-18; fiber-optic; Parker-Hannifin

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