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NASA Meatball NASA Dryden F-18 Systems Research Aircraft (SRA) banner
F-18 SRA during flight from below F-18 SRA during flight from below

Photo Number: EC96-43623-4
Photo Date: May 1996

Formats: 558x480 JPEG Image (69 KBytes)
1191x1024 JPEG Image (497 KBytes)
2000x1720 JPEG Image (580 KBytes)

Description: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Systems Research Aircraft (SRA), a highly modified F-18 jet fighter, shows its colors during a research flight. 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. 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; F/A-18; SRA; Systems Research Aircraft; fiber-optic; McDonnell-Douglas; Lockheed-Martin


Last Modified: February 6, 2002
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