Missile Guidance


Missiles provide the essential accuracy and standoff range capabilities that are of paramount importance in modern warfare. Technologies for missile guidance are rapidly emerging, resulting in the frequent introduction of new missile guidance systems. The capability to meet essential requirements is often driven by missile guidance.

This course provides a system-level, integrated method for missile guidance design, development, and system engineering. It addresses requirements such as performance, cost, risk, and launch platform integration. The prediction methods presented are generally simple closed-form analytical expressions that are physics-based, to provide better insight into the primary driving parameters. Typical values of missile guidance parameters and the characteristics of current operational missiles are discussed as well as the enabling subsystems and technologies and the current/projected state-of-the-art.  Seeker/sensor/data link alternatives include radar, infrared, and laser. Seeker robustness considerations include performance with adverse weather, clutter, automatic target recognition, and countermeasures.  Navigation alternatives include Global Positioning System (GPS) and inertial reference.  Flight control alternatives include tail, canard, wing, thrust vector, and reaction jet control.  Carriage and fire control interfaces are presented for aircraft, ground vehicle, and ship launch platforms.  Discussion of guidance simulation includes conceptual design modeling, preliminary design modeling, and hardware-in-loop modeling. The missile guidance development process, test facilities, and development tests are presented.  Videos illustrate missile guidance activities and performance.

The instructor’s textbook, Missile Design and System Engineering (Fleeman, AIAA, 2012), will be provided as part of the course registration. 

Learning Objectives

  • Key drivers in the missile guidance design, development, and system engineering process
  • Conceptual design criteria for missile guidance
  • Critical tradeoffs, methods, and technologies in missile guidance sizing
  • Targeting system, launch platform, and-missile guidance integration
  • Missile guidance sizing examples
  • Missile guidance system and technology development process

Who Should Attend
The course is oriented toward the needs of missile engineers, system engineers, system analysts, marketing personnel, program managers, university professors, and others working in the area of missile guidance systems and missile guidance technology development. Attendees will gain an understanding of missile guidance design, guidance technologies, targeting and launch platform integration, missile guidance measures of merit, and the missile guidance system development process.

Course Information:
Type of Course: Instructor-Led Short Course
Course Level: Intermediate
Course Length: 2 days
AIAA CEU's available: Yes

Contact: Please contact Lisa Le if you have questions about the course or group discounts (for 5+ participants).

  • Introduction/Drivers in Missile Guidance
  • Aerodynamic Considerations in Missile Guidance
    • Flight control alternatives, including tail, canard, wing, thrust vector, and reaction jet control
    • Guidelines for missile stability, and flight control effectiveness
    • Conceptual design methods for predicting missile maneuverability and off-boresight
    • Comparisons of missile maneuver laws
  • Weight Considerations in Missile Guidance
    • Conceptual design methods for predicting the weight of missile guidance, radome, power supply, and actuators
  • Flight Performance Considerations in Missile Guidance
    • Conceptual design methods for predicting missile maneuverability and off-boresight
    • Equations of motion and drivers for missile guidance
  • Other Measures of Merit and Launch Platform Integration/System Engineering
    • Navigation alternatives, including Global Positioning Satellite (GPS), inertial reference, terrain contour matching (TERCOM), and digital scene matching
    • Seeker/sensor/data link alternatives including radar, infrared, and laser
    • Conceptual design methods for predicting range and tracking accuracy of seekers and seeker domes
    • Seeker robustness considerations, including performance with adverse weather, clutter, automatic target recognition, and countermeasures
    • Impact of measures of merit for robustness, lethality, accuracy, observables, reliability, and cost of missile guidance
    • Carriage interfaces, fire control interfaces, and environmental requirements for aircraft, ground vehicle, and ship launch platforms
    • Comparisons of terminal guidance alternatives
  • Simplified Example of Tail Stabilizer Sizing to Meet Guidance Accuracy Requirement
    • Simplified example of static stability analysis, Pareto sensitivity analysis, uncertainty analysis, House of Quality (HOQ), and Design of Experiment (DOE)
  • Missile Guidance Development Process
    • Guidance simulation including conceptual design modeling, preliminary design modeling, six-degrees of freedom digital modeling, and hardware-in-loop modeling
    • Missile guidance development process, facilities, and development tests
    • New technologies for missile guidance
  • Some Lessons Learned
  • Summary
  • References, Bibliography, and Follow-up Communication
  • Appendices (Homework Problems/Classroom Exercises, Example of Request for Proposal, Nomenclature, Acronyms, Conversion Factors, Syllabus, Quizzes, Design Case Studies, TMD Spreadsheet, Soda Straw Rocket Science)

The instructor’s textbook, Missile Design and System Engineering (Fleeman, AIAA, 2012), will be provided as part of the course registration.


Eugene L. Fleeman has 50+ years of government, industry, academia, and consulting experience in the design and development of missile systems (web site). Formerly a manager of missile programs at the US Air Force Research Laboratory, Rockwell International, Boeing, and Georgia Tech, he is an international lecturer on missiles and the author of 200+ publications, including three textbooks. His textbooks and short courses on Missile Design, Development, and System Engineering emphasize physics-based prediction methods, for enhanced insight, speed, and accuracy to the conceptual design process. Since the year 1999 his short courses have been held over one hundred times in fifteen countries and five continents. He is an AIAA Associate Fellow, an AIAA Distinguished Lecturer, and a former chair of the AIAA Missile Systems Technical Committee.


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