Title: Interception of an aerodynamically stable weaving re-entry vehicle

Authors: Arthur Vermeulen; Ralph Savelsberg

Addresses: Faculty of Militairy Sciences, Netherlands Defence Academy, P.O. Box 10.000, 1780 CA Den Helder, The Netherlands ' Faculty of Militairy Sciences, Netherlands Defence Academy, P.O. Box 10.000, 1780 CA Den Helder, The Netherlands

Abstract: Traditional missile guidance laws are designed against fighter aircraft, with a much lower velocity (600-800 m/s) than ballistic missiles. To see whether intercepting a theatre ballistic missile inside the atmosphere is difficult in terms of missile guidance, trajectories of two different re-entry vehicles and the terminal phase of their interception, while the interceptor is guided by its own sensors, are simulated using MATLAB/Simulink. The interception is always successful if the inherent delay of the missile guidance system is small (below 0.5 seconds). The re-entry vehicles follow weaving trajectories, but the amplitude of the weave is small and does not pose problems for the interceptor. Neither does the high velocity of the missile (2,600 m/s), provided that the interceptor is near the inverse trajectory at the start of the terminal phase. Consequently, current missile guidance technology seems to be sufficient against aerodynamically stable missiles, but early detection and tracking are essential for success.

Keywords: missile defence; missile guidance; guidance laws; ballistic missiles; missile interception; aerodynamics; aerodynamically stable missiles; weaving trajectories; simulation; missile velocity; early detection; early tracking; missile detection; missile tracking.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIDSS.2014.059965

International Journal of Intelligent Defence Support Systems, 2014 Vol.5 No.2, pp.127 - 145

Available online: 22 Mar 2014 *

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