Improving mid-course flight through an application of real-time optimal control
Roncoroni, Mark R.
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Improving the performance of a missile weapon system is a consistently sought-after goal. A common method to accomplish this is to use a more efficient physical design. This thesis explores a proof-of-concept solution to the problem by improving guidance laws through the application of optimal control theory to enhance its performance. A modified 3-degrees of freedom (3-DOF) model of a tactical missile was developed using common methods for estimating aerodynamic properties. Once the 3-DOF model problem was properly formulated with relevant cost functions and boundary conditions, Pontryagin's principle on optimal control was then applied to develop the necessary Boundary Value Problem that can be used to find the optimal guidance solution. The derived solution was then applied to another 3-DOF model with an improved fidelity of aerodynamic properties to show the potential of real-time optimal control (RTOC). The resulting miss distance was used to assess update rate requirements for real-time, optimal mid-course guidance. Finally, the conservation of kinetic energy over the course of flight was used to compare RTOC performance to that of traditional proportional navigation control laws and demonstrate the potential of RTOC.
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