DESIGN AND TESTING OF A MULTI-UNIT PAYLOAD DELIVERY AND TRACKING SYSTEM FOR GUIDED MUNITIONS TO COMBAT UAV SWARM THREATS
Thyberg, Robert C., II
Brophy, Christopher M.
Dausen, David F.
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A growing problem facing national security revolves around inexpensive, easily manufactured drones. Sophisticated software can link drones into swarms and inflict heavy damage on the United States and her allies’ assets, while rudimentary drones could also be used by terrorists to strike civilians from afar. Current defenses against drone swarms are conventional missiles that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars; the disproportion in cost is not in U.S. favor. The NPS Rocket Propulsion Lab has explored the design of a low-cost delivery vehicle capable of deploying multiple guided munitions laterally out of the missile body at an altitude greater than that of the drone swarm. The guided munitions would be tasked by a targeting hub that would remain aloft above the specific drones, providing unique guidance commands to each deployed unit. This thesis focused on the deployment of the munitions from a flight system, utilizing both Computational Fluid Dynamics and real flight testing to design an effective ejection mechanism and tracking approach. Additionally, high-level design and analysis of a targeting system within the missile was performed. Although there are many solutions being explored to this pressing problem, this thesis seeks to give the United States more cost-symmetric options and capabilities when it comes to air defense against drone swarms in the future.
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