Fundamentals of Tactical and Strategic Missile Guidance


Whether you work in the tactical world or the strategic world, this course will help you understand and appreciate the unique challenges of each. So everyone can clearly understand the principles of both tactical and strategic missile guidance, concepts are derived mathematically, explained from a heuristic perspective, and illustrated with numerical examples. Material is presented so that participants with different learning styles can benefit. The course will be of value to both novices and experts wanting to learn more about missile guidance and to understand its importance to system design.

Key Topics:

  • Interceptor guidance system technology.
  • How subsystems influence total system performance.
  • Useful design relationships for rapid guidance system sizing.
  • Using adjoints to analyze missile guidance systems.
  • How various guidance laws can improve system performance.
  • Factors which limit missile system performance
  • Click below for full outline

Who Should Attend:

This course will benefit managers, engineers, and programmers at all levels who work with or need to learn about interceptor guidance system technology. The heuristic arguments and numerous examples will give managers an appreciation for guidance so that they can interact effectively with specialists. Engineers and programmers will find the detailed course material and many MATLAB source code listings invaluable for both learning and reference.

Course Information:

Type of Course: Instructor-Led Short Course
Course Level: Fundamental/Intermediate
Course Length: 1-3 days
AIAA CEU's available: Yes


I. Fundamentals of Tactical Missile Guidance
A. Important proportional navigation closed-form solutions and their utility 

II. Method of Adjoints and the Homing Loop
A. Constructing an adjoint and using it to analyze missile guidance systems

III. Noise Analysis
A. Shaping filters and target maneuver and interpreting Monte Carlo results 

IV. Proportional Navigation and Miss Distance
A. Useful design relationships for rapid guidance system sizing 

V. Digital Noise Filters in the Homing Loop
A. How digital noise filter properties influence homing loop performance 

VI. Advanced Guidance Laws
A. Deriving optimal guidance laws without optimal control theory 

VII. Kalman Filters and the Homing Loop
A. Kalman filter that works effectively and how its utility with optimal guidance 

VIII. Endoatmospheric Ballistic Targets
A. The importance of speed, re-entry angle, and ballistic coefficient 

IX. Extended Kalman Filtering
A. Performance comparison of linear, linearized, and extended Kalman filters 

X. Strategic Considerations
A. Similarities and differences between tactical and strategic missile guidance 

XI. Boosters
A. Using the rocket equation and gravity turn guidance

XII. Lambert Guidance 

A. How Lambert and GEM can be used to guide boosters

XIII. Strategic Intercepts
A. -Predicting strategic performance using tactical guidance concepts 

XIV. Theater Missile Defense
A. How to use guidance methods to shape the missile trajectory

XV. Filter Banks
A. How filter banks can be used to improve system performance




Paul Zarchan has more than 40 years of experience designing, analyzing, and evaluating missile guidance systems. He has worked as Principal Engineer for Raytheon Mission Systems Division and has served as Senior Research Engineer with the Israel Ministry of Defense and has worked as Principal Member of the Technical Staff at C.S. Draper Laboratory. Mr. Zarchan is currently working on problems related to missile defense as a Member of the Technical Staff for MIT Lincoln Laboratory. He is author of Tactical and Strategic Missile Guidance, Fifth Edition and co-author of Fundamentals of Kalman Filtering: A Practical Approach Third Edition, both of which are books in the AIAA Progress in Astronautics and Aeronautics Series. 



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