Missile Design, Development and Systems

Course length:

4 Days



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This four-day course is recommended for those who wish to broaden their understanding of missiles. Conceptual design methods are presented for the major subsystems and for predicting performance, cost, risk, and launch platform integration. Examples are shown of subsystem and system development test activities. Configuration sizing examples include rocket-powered, ramjet-powered, and turbo-jet powered missiles as well as guided bombs. The course presents typical characteristics of missiles, historical development of subsystems, enabling technologies, and the state-of-the-art. Over seventy videos illustrate missile development activities and performance. Each attendee will design, build, and fly a small air powered rocket based on the analysis and prediction methods of the course. This course is based on the instructor’s 880 page AIAA textbook Missile Design and System Engineering, which includes free software.

Who Should Attend:

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

What You Will Learn:

  • Key drivers in design, development, and system engineering.
  • Configuration sizing methods for aerodynamics, propulsion, weight, and flight trajectory.
  • Integration with aircraft, ground, and ship platforms.
  • Robustness, lethality, guidance, navigation, flight control, observables, survivability, safety, reliability, and cost.
  • Missile sizing examples.
  • Development of missile system, subsystems, and technology.

Course Outline:

  1. Introduction/Drivers in Missile Design, Development, and System Engineering: Overview of missile design process. Examples of system integration. Types of missiles. Configuration sizing parameters. Conceptual design process. Examples of mission requirements. Example of sensitivity analysis.
  2. Aerodynamics in Missile Design, Development, and System Engineering: Optimizing missile aerodynamics. Shapes for low observables. Configuration layout options. Selecting flight control alternatives. Wing and tail sizing. Predicting normal force, drag, pitching moment, stability, flight control effectiveness, lift-to-drag ratio, and hinge moment. Skid-to-turn, bank-to-turn, rolling airframe, and divert maneuvering alternatives.
  3. Propulsion in Missile Design, Development, and System Engineering: Turbojet, ramjet, scramjet, ducted rocket, and rocket specific impulse, range, and thrust. Booster and inlet alternatives. High density fuels. Performance, explosive safety, toxicity, and observables tradeoffs. Propellant grain cross section trade-offs. Thrust magnitude control. Propellant ageing prediction. Combustion instability. Motor case and nozzle materials.
  4. Weight in Missile Design, Development, and System Engineering: Weight prediction and minimizing weight. How to size subsystems to meet flight performance requirements. Structure factor of safety. Structure concepts and manufacturing processes. Airframe materials. Structure loads prediction. Airframe and rocket motor case design. Aerodynamic heating prediction and insulation trades. Thermal stress. Seeker dome materials and sizing. Power supply and actuator sizing.
  5. Flight Performance in Missile Design, Development, and System Engineering: Flight envelope limitations. Aerodynamic sizing-equations of motion. Accuracy of simplified equations of motion. Maximizing missile flight performance. Benefits of flight trajectory shaping. Flight performance prediction of boost, climb, cruise, coast, steady descent, ballistic, maneuvering, divert, and homing flight.
  6. Other Missile Measures of Merit and Launch Platform Integration/System Engineering: Robustness in adverse weather. Seeker, navigation, data link, and sensor alternatives. Seeker range prediction. Imaging versus scanning infrared seekers. Semi-active laser seeker. Mid-wave versus long wave infrared seeker. Gimbaled versus strap-down seekers. Automatic target recognition. Milimeter wave versus centimeter wave seekers. Radar traveling wave tube versus solid state amplifier. Multi-mode seekers. GPS/INS integration. Counter-countermeasures. Electromagnetic compatibility. Warhead alternatives and lethality prediction. Collateral damage. Fuzing alternatives and requirements for fuze angle and time delay. Missile guidance laws. Proportional guidance accuracy prediction. Sources of miss distance. Missile time constant and maneuverability for small miss distance. Radome error slope and filtering. Radar cross section and infrared signature prediction. Survivability considerations. Insensitive munition requirements. Reliability. Cost drivers of schedule, weight, learning curve, type of subsystems, and parts count. EMD and production cost prediction. Designing within launch platform constraints. Basing and logistics. Standard launchers for ships, submarines, aircraft, and ground vehicles. Internal versus external carriage. Shipping, storage, carriage, and launch considerations. Launch platform and fire control system interfaces. Comparison of active homing, passive homing, semi-active homing, command, and multi-mode guidance. Climatic environment requirements. Cold and solar environment temperature prediction for missile subsystems.
  7. Missile Sizing Examples and Sizing Tools: Baseline turbojet, ramjet, rocket, and guided bomb. Trade-offs for extended range rocket. Sizing for enhanced maneuverability. Lofted range prediction. Ramjet sizing for range robustness. Fuel alternatives. Turbojet sizing for maximum range. Guided bomb range prediction. Computer aided sizing tools for conceptual design. Design, build, and fly competition. Pareto, house of quality, and design of experiment analysis.
  8. Missile Development Process: Design validation/technology development process. Developing a technology roadmap. History of transformational technologies. Cost, risk, and performance tradeoffs. New missile follow-on projections. Examples of development tests and facilities. Missile simulation. Example of technology demonstration flight envelope. New technologies for missiles. 


Eugene L. Fleeman has 50+ years of government, industry, academia, and consulting experience in the design and development of missile systems. 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. Since the year 1999 his short course has been held ninety-nine times in fifteen countries and five continents.


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SCHEDULING: If this course is not on the current schedule of open enrollment courses and you are interested in attending this or another course as an open enrollment, please contact us at (410)956-8805 or ati@aticourses.com. Please indicate the course name, number of students who wish to participate. and a preferred time frame. ATI typically schedules open enrollment courses with a 3-5 month lead-time. To express your interest in an open enrollment course not on our current schedule, please email us at ati@aticourses.com.

For on-site pricing, you can use the request an on-site quote form, call us at (410)956-8805, or email us at ati@aticourses.com.