The present invention involves a system for altering the aerodynamic shape and/or fluid flow about a solid body. The preferred embodiment comprises an obstruction disposed on the solid body and extending outwardly from the solid body into the fluid flowing over the solid body and a synthetic jet actuator embedded in the solid body such that said fluid flowing over the solid body encounters the obstruction before the synthetic jet actuator. The synthetic jet actuator includes a jet housing defined by walls, the jet housing having an internal chamber with a volume of fluid and an opening in the jet housing connecting the chamber to an external environment having the fluid, and a volume changing means for periodically changing the volume within the internal chamber so that a series of fluid vortices are generated and projected in the external environment out from the opening of the jet housing. A synthetic jet stream is formed by the fluid vortices entraining the fluid of the external environment and is projected outwardly from the solid body. The fluid flowing over the solid body contacts the synthetic jet stream forming a recirculation region, thereby modifying both the flow field and the pressure distribution and similarly modifying both the lift and drag characteristics of the solid body.