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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: EC97-43950-4
Photo Date: February 25, 1997

Formats: 362x480 JPEG Image (41 KBytes)
773x1024 JPEG Image (276 KBytes)
2400x3180 JPEG Image (7,911 KBytes)

Description: A new "Smart Skin" antenna, shown here on top of the right vertical stabilizer of an F/A-18 research aircraft, showed remarkable results in its first flight tests at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California.

The flight tests of the new 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.

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

Last Modified: February 6, 2002
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