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14 June 2001 Air vehicle integration issues and considerations for CLAS successful implementation
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Over the last decade, Northrop Grumman Corporation under internal and DoD funding, and others, have been working on integration of RF antennas into load-bearing aircraft structures. This multidisciplinary effort, collectively referred to as Conformal Load-bearing Antenna Structures (CLAS), requires concurrent consideration of structural and antenna performance issues and has involved a team consisting of avionics, structures, material, and manufacturing expertise. From the published articles to date it could be argued that the technology has had some spectacular success in its initial stages but not much has been published about the issues raised by CLAS that would still need to be addressed and solved for final technology inclusion in an operational air-vehicle. Presented are some key results from the Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL) Smart Skins Structures Technology Demonstrator (S3TD) program that while funded from the Air Vehicles Directorate looked at the total picture of integration from a multidisciplilnary standpoint. Issues related to airframe integration are also discussed that need further study and evaluation before CLAS can be sanctioned as a viable future DoD technology. Such topics, in no particular order of priority are 1) airframe CLAS panel location, 2) airframe configuration issues, 3) EMI/lightning issues, and 4) repair issues and supportability, 5) panel design enhancement, risks, and issues.
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Allen J. Lockyer, Kevin H. Alt, Jayanth N. Kudva, and James Tuss "Air vehicle integration issues and considerations for CLAS successful implementation", Proc. SPIE 4332, Smart Structures and Materials 2001: Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies, (14 June 2001);

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