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NASA Meatball NASA Dryden F-18 Systems Research Aircraft (SRA) banner
F-18 SRA with Smart Skin Antenna replacing right tail fin end cap F-18 SRA with Smart Skin Antenna replacing right tail fin end cap

Photo Number: EC97-43950-2
Photo Date: February 25, 1997

Formats: 466x640 JPEG Image (88 KBytes)
932x1280 JPEG Image (364 KBytes)
2400x3296 JPEG Image (3,469 KBytes)

Description: Bob Cummings, a technician at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, checks out a new "Smart Skin" antenna mounted on the tip of the right vertical fin of Dryden's F/A-18 Systems Research Aircraft. Flight tests of the antenna system demonstrated a five-fold increase in voice communications range and a substantial improvement in the pattern of radiation and quality of transmission compared to the standard dorsal blade antenna on the aircraft.

The Smart Skin antenna system was electrically as well as physically connected to the airframe, making the aircraft skin operate as an antenna along with the antenna itself. The concept was developed by TRW Avionics Systems Division and integrated into the F/A-18's vertical fin by Northrop-Grumman Corporation.

NASA Photo by: Tony Landis

Keywords: F/A-18; F-18; SRA; Systems Research Aircraft; Smart Skin antenna; Bob Cummings

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