Missile Analysis

Course Length:



This 4-day course presents a broad introduction to major missile subsystems and their integrated performance, explained in practical terms, but including relevant analytical methods. While emphasis is on today’s homing missiles and future trends, the course includes a historical perspective of relevant older missiles. Both endoatmospheric and exoatmospheric missiles (missiles that operate in the atmosphere and in space) are addressed. Missile propulsion, guidance, control, and seekers are covered, and their roles and interactions in integrated missile operation are explained. The types and applications of missile simulation and testing are presented. Comparisons of autopilot designs, guidance approaches, seeker alternatives, and instrumentation for various purposes are presented. The course is recommended for analysts, engineers, and technical managers who want to broaden their understanding of modern missiles and missile systems. The analytical descriptions require some technical or mathematical background, but practical explanations can be appreciated by students without this background.


US Citizenship is required for this course.

What you will learn:

You will gain an understanding of the design and analysis of homing missiles and the integrated performance of their subsystems.

    • Missile propulsion and control in the atmosphere and in space.
    • Clear explanation of homing guidance.
    • Types of missile seekers and how they work.
    • Missile testing and simulation.
    • Latest developments and future trends.

Course Outline:

  1. Introduction. Brief history of Missiles. Types of missiles. Introduction to ballistic missile defense. Endoatmospheric and exoatmospheric missiles. Missile basing. Missile subsystems overview. Warheads, lethality and hit-to-kill. Power and power conditioning.
  2. Missile Propulsion. Rocket thrust and the rocket equation. Specific impulse and mass fraction. Solid and liquid propulsion. Propellant safety. Single stage and multistage boosters. Ramjets and scramjets. Axial propulsion. Thrust vector control. Divert and attitude control systems. Effects of gravity and atmospheric drag.
  3. Missile Autopilots, Airframes, and Control. Purpose and functions of autopilots. Dynamics of missile motion and simplifying assumptions. Single plane analysis. Missile aerodynamics. Autopilot design. Open-loop and closed loop autopilots. Inertial instruments and feedback. Pitch and roll autopilot examples. Autopilot response, stability, and agility. Body modes and rate saturation. Induced roll in high performance missiles. Adaptive autopilots. Rolling airframe Missiles. Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle autopilots. Pulse Width Modulation. Limit cycles.
  4. Missile Seekers. Seeker types and operation for endo- and exo-atmospheric missiles. Passive, active and semi active seekers. Atmospheric transmission. Strapped down and gimbaled seekers. Radar basics. Radar seekers and missile fire-control radar. Radar antennas. Sequential lobing, monopulse and frequency agility. Passive sensing basics and infrared seekers. Figures of merit for detectors. Introduction to seeker optics and passive seeker configurations. Scanning seekers and focal plane arrays. Dual mode seekers. Seeker comparisons and applications to different missions. Signal processing and noise reduction.
  5. Missile Guidance. Phases of missile flight. Boost and midcourse guidance. Lambert Guidance. Homing guidance. Zero effort miss. Proportional navigation and augmented proportional navigation. Predictive guidance. Optimum homing guidance. Homing guidance examples and simulation results. Gravity bias. Radomes and their effects. Blind range. Endoatmospheric and exoatmospheric missile guidance. Sources of miss and miss reduction. Miss distance comparisons with different homing guidance laws. Guidance filters and the Kalman filter. Early guidance techniques. Beam rider, pure pursuit, and deviated pursuit guidance.
  6. Simulation and Testing. Current simulation capabilities and future trends. Hardware in the loop. Types of missile testing and their uses, advantages and disadvantages of testing alternatives.


REGISTRATION:  There is no obligation or payment required to enter the Registration for an actively scheduled course.   We understand that you may need approvals but please register as early as possible or contact us so we know of your interest in this course offering.

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.


  • Dr. Walter R. Dyer is a graduate of UCLA, with a Ph.D. degree in Control Systems Engineering and Applied Mathematics. He has over thirty years of industry, government and academic experience in the analysis and design of tactical and strategic missiles. His experience includes Standard Missile, Stinger, AMRAAM, HARM, MX, Small ICBM, and ballistic missile defense. He is currently a Senior Staff Member at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and was formerly the Chief Technologist at the Missile Defense Agency in Washington, DC. He has authored numerous industry and government reports and published prominent papers on missile technology. He has also taught university courses in engineering at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

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