Directed energy effects on the flight path of a spinning ballistic projectile
Capen, George S.
Melich, Michael E.
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This thesis will examine the equations of motion for a spinning ballistic projectile. The goal of such an examination is to determine the possible mechanisms by which a directed energy weapon may induce sufficient instability as to significantly alter the projectile's flight path. A ballistic projectile is generally launched with a "fire and forget" philosophy. The desired impact point is determined before firing. It may be possible to alter the projectile in such a way that it fails to follow the desired trajectory thereby missing the intended target. Several variables appear to be worthy of investigation to assess their contribution to a required instability or range reduction. Skin friction drag may be increased from surface roughness generated by a pulsed energy source. The results that this thesis will examine include: impulse generated by the laser interaction, additional Magnus effects and aerodynamic drag. Moment induced instability may also result from these in the form of a Magnus moment or drag torque. Increasing the drag force appears to be the most promising theoretical solution to defeating an incoming spinning ballistic projectile.
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