Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) is a sought after concept that is expected to advance military maintenance
programs, increase platform operational safety and reduce its life cycle cost. Such concept is further considered to
constitute a major building block of any Integrated Health Management (IHM) capability. Since 65% to 80% of military
assets' Life Cycle Cost (LCC) is devoted to operations and support (O&S), the aerospace industry and military sectors
continue to look for opportunities to exploit SHM systems, capability and tools. Over the past several years, countless
SHM concepts and technologies have emerged. Among those, fiber optic based systems were identified of significant
This paper introduces the elements of an SHM system and investigates key issues impeding the commercial
implementation of fiber optic based SHM capability. In particular, this paper presents an experimental study of short
gauge, intrinsic, spectrometric-based in-fiber Bragg grating sensors, for potential use as a component of an SHM system.
Fiber optic Bragg grating sensors are evaluated against resistance strain gauges for strain monitoring, sensitivity,
accuracy, reliability, and fatigue durability. Strain field disturbance is also investigated by "embedding" the sensors
under a photoelastic coating in order to illustrate sensor intrusiveness in an embedded configuration.