Optimal and near-optimal medium range air-to-air missile guidance against maneuvering targets

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Optimal intercept trajectories for a boost-sustain-coast medium-range air-to-air missile are synthesized using optimal control theory. Optimality in time/range/energy at intercept of a target is the main objective. Attainable sets and their boundaries are obtained and used to generate optimal intercept points in a three-dimensional scenario.

A three-phase closed-loop guidance scheme is used to generate an efficient guidance law against a maneuvering target. In the present study, target maneuvers are restricted to the horizontal plane.

An initial boost-phase with near-optimal guidance in the presence of active control constraints and thrust switches is simulated. Target maneuvers are neglected during this phase. A new method of gain evaluation is detailed. A midcourse guidance scheme with neighboring guidance, transversal comparisons, and chasing center-of-attainability of target to augment performance is studied. Modifications in terminal guidance using proportional navigation, such as chasing the center-of-attainability of target, altitude shaping, and drag-resolution schemes are used to attempt better performance at intercept.

A composite guidance strategy using a combination of neighboring guidance and proportional navigation for the midcourse guidance is introduced. The excellent performance of this guidance strategy and the improvement in storage requirements for on-board use make it a very special scheme.