26 May 1995 Application for smart skin technologies to the development of a conformal antenna installation in the vertical tail of a military aircraft
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Abstract
Recent developments in smart skins technology at Northrop Grumman have paved the way toward incorporating avionics communication functions, previously provided by blade antennas, into the vertical tail of a military aircraft. Radio frequency communication link ranges can be significantly improved by structurally integrating the antenna radiating element into the tail region. Excitation of the large vertical tail surface improves radiation efficiency in the VHF-FM, VHF-AM, and UHF frequency bands. Analysis shows use of the whole tail region as an antenna would provide the best gain and coverage, however, confining the antenna design to the end cap region alone, also significantly enhances performance compared to blade installations. Near term technology applications to retrofit aircraft with minimum perturbations to the existing tail design are therefore possible. Multidisciplinary aspects of the application approach are discussed under the subheadings (1) antenna design, (2) structures and materials, (3) manufacturing, and (4) weight assessment along with the resolution of key technical road blocks. Finally, recommendations for further work necessary to transition the application to a production aircraft are discussed.
© (1995) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Kevin H. Alt, Allen J. Lockyer, Christopher A. Martin, Jayanth N. Kudva, Allan C. Goetz, "Application for smart skin technologies to the development of a conformal antenna installation in the vertical tail of a military aircraft", Proc. SPIE 2448, Smart Structures and Materials 1995: Smart Electronics, (26 May 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.210476; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.210476
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