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Proceedings Paper

Application for smart skin technologies to the development of a conformal antenna installation in the vertical tail of a military aircraft
Author(s): Kevin H. Alt; Allen J. Lockyer; Christopher A. Martin; Jayanth N. Kudva; Allan C. Goetz
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Paper 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.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 May 1995
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 2448, Smart Structures and Materials 1995: Smart Electronics, (26 May 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.210476
Show Author Affiliations
Kevin H. Alt, Northrop Grumman Corp. (United States)
Allen J. Lockyer, Northrop Grumman Corp. (United States)
Christopher A. Martin, Northrop Grumman Corp. (United States)
Jayanth N. Kudva, Northrop Grumman Corp. (United States)
Allan C. Goetz, TRW, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2448:
Smart Structures and Materials 1995: Smart Electronics
Vijay K. Varadan, Editor(s)

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