The new paint-on antenna technology was tested successfully during flights on the SA-60 Spherical Airship in the Nevada desert. Derived from a series of polymer-based dielectrics and highly conductive paint, the paint-on antennas are designed to be used to establish new high altitude communications and surveillance platforms. With no protruding physical antennas that can get damaged or destroyed in high altitude flights, the paint-on electromagnetic antennas communicated during the flight with an Iridium Global satellite. The paint-on antennas transmitted and received data links in an overall radio frequency performance considered outstanding. Iridium bit error rate data transmission and receptions and voice communications to and from the Airship with teleconferencing were tested without errors.
When painted on an SA-60 airship, the antennas can provide unhampered communication with minimal chance of interruption. The SA-60 shed their wire antennas and bore the paint-on antennas for the antennas first test flight. Staying airborne for days at altitudes from 10,000 to 20,000 feet over a geographic area, the SA-60, armed with the impervious paint-ons, high resolution cameras, infrared sensors and over-the-horizon radar, could be deemed a surrogate-satellite performing all the same features as a satellite in outer space.
By patrolling or positioning over a particular area, SA-60 tagged with the paint-on antennas is expected to offer flawless communications when used to secure ports, borders and coastlines, observe hurricanes, assist with hurricane disaster relief, perform science observations and improve military operations protecting warfighters.