17–21 June 2019
Hilton Anatole, Dallas, Texas

Missile Aerodynamics

23-24 June 2018
0800-1700 hrs

Member - Early (until 4 June) $585
Member - Standard   $685
Conference Rate  $785

Register Here


A system-level approach is provided for missile aerodynamic design, development, and system engineering. The methods presented are generally simple closed-form analytical expressions that are physics-based, to provide insight into the primary driving parameters. Sizing examples are presented for rocket-powered missiles, ramjet-powered missiles, turbo-jet powered missiles, and guided bombs. Typical values of missile aerodynamic parameters and the characteristics of current operational missiles are presented. Videos illustrate missile aerodynamic development activities and performance. Each student will design, build, and fly a small air rocket in a design, build, and fly competition. The instructor’s textbook Missile Design and System Engineering (Fleeman, AIAA, 2012) will be provided as part of the course registration.

Key Topics

  • Key drivers in the missile aerodynamic design and system engineering process
  • Critical tradeoffs, methods, and technologies in missile aerodynamic sizing to meet flight performance and other requirements such as configuration shaping for low observables
  • Launch platform-missile configuration integration
  • Aerodynamic sizing examples to meet baseline missiles performance requirements
  • Missile aerodynamics development process

Who Should Attend

The course is oriented toward the needs of missile engineers, system engineers, system analysts, marketing personnel, program managers, university professors, and others working in the area of missile aerodynamics. Attendees will gain an understanding of missile aerodynamic design, missile flight performance, missile aerodynamics technologies, launch platform integration, missile aerodynamics measures of merit, and the missile aerodynamics development process.

Course Instructor

Eugene L. Fleeman has 50+ years of government, industry, academia, and consulting experience in the design and development of missile systems and missile technologies. Formerly a manager of missile programs at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Rockwell International, Boeing, and Georgia Tech, he is an international lecturer on missiles and the author of over 200 publications including the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) textbook Missile Design and System Engineering. 

Course Outline

1. Introduction
  • Drivers in Missile Aerodynamics Design, Development, and System Engineering
  • Example of state-of-the-art in missile aerodynamics
  • Missile subsystems that impact aerodynamics
  • Overview of missile aerodynamic design and system engineering process
  • Missile conceptual design synthesis process
  • Example of process to establish missile aerodynamics requirements
  • Use of an aerodynamic baseline to expedite the design process
2. Missile Aerodynamic Design, Development, and System Engineering
  • Impact of aerodynamics on flight performance
  • Optimizing missile aerodynamic configuration geometry
  • Predicting drag, normal force, pitching moment, static margin, and hinge moment
  • Shapes for low observables
  • Aerodynamic flight control alternatives (canard, wing, tail), thrust vector flight control, and reaction jet flight control
  • Aerodynamic stabilizer alternatives
  • Wing sizing. Maneuver law alternatives
  • Inlet alternatives for high maneuverability and low drag
  • Lifting body missiles
3. Propulsion Considerations in Missile Aerodynamics
  • Turbojet, ramjet, scramjet, ducted rocket, and solid propellant rocket flight profile and range comparisons
  • Missile inlet-launch platform integration
  • Selecting ramjet inlet alternatives
4. Weight Considerations in Missile Aerodynamics
  • Aerodynamic design factors of safety
  • Aerodynamic loads prediction
  • Aerodynamic heating prediction
  • Flight control actuator alternatives and sizing
5. Flight Performance Considerations in Missile Aerodynamics
  • Flight envelope limitations
  • Missile flight performance sizing-equations of motion
  • Maximizing missile flight performance
  • Benefits of boost-glide flight trajectory shaping
  • Flight performance prediction of boost, climb, cruise, coast, steady descent, ballistic, maneuvering, divert, and homing flight
6. Other Measures of Merit and Launch Platform Integration/System Engineering Considerations in Missile Aerodynamics
  • Optimum cruise conditions for air-breathing propulsion
  • Standard atmosphere. Uncertainty and robustness considerations
  • Aerodynamic configuration for low radar cross section
  • Survivability flight profile considerations. Guidance and control block diagram
  • Aerodynamic contributors to missile time constant. Maneuverability requirements for homing missiles
  • Designing within launch platform constraints. Launch platform integration problems
  • Standard launch platform interfaces and launchers. Internal versus external carriage
  • Carriage, launch, and separation environment considerations
7. Missile Aerodynamic Sizing Examples and Sizing Tools
  • Rocket baseline missile sizing to meet standoff range requirement
  • Wing sizing and turn performance. Lofted rocket range comparison
  • Ramjet baseline missile sizing for range robustness
  • Turbojet baseline missile low altitude range prediction
  • Turbojet missile sizing for maximum range
  • Guided bomb baseline ballistic range prediction
  • Guided bomb glide range prediction
  • Conceptual design sizing tools
  • Aerodynamic design of a small air rocket
  • Pareto and uncertainty analysis for conceptual design
  • House of quality for conceptual design
  • Design of experiment for conceptual design
  • Each attendee will design, build, and fly a small air rocket in a design, build, and fly competition 
8. Missile Aerodynamics Development Process
  • Design validation/technology development process
  • Examples of development tests and facilities
  • Example of aerodynamics technology flight demonstration and flight envelope
  • Flight test requirements. Developing a technology roadmap
  • Missile development program attributes
  • Cost, risk, and performance tradeoffs
  • History of transformational technologies
  • History of missile configuration upgrades
  • Current funding emphasis
  • Missile contractor consolidations
  • Example of aerodynamics technology development
  • New technologies for missile aerodynamics
9. Some Lessons Learned

10. Summary

11. References and Follow-Up Communication

12. Appendices

    Course Materials

    Course notes will be made available about one week prior to the course event. You will receive an email with detailed instructions on how to access your course notes. Since course notes will not be distributed on site, AIAA and your course instructor highly recommend that you bring your computer with the course notes already downloaded to the course. 

    The instructor’s textbook Missile Design and System Engineering (Fleeman, AIAA, 2012) will be provided on-site as part of the course registration.

    Course Registration

    Pricing and registration information can be found here.

    AIAA CEUs are available for this course.


    Please contact Jason Cole if you have any questions about courses and workshops at AIAA forums.

    Dates to Remember

    • Manuscript Deadline: 14 May 2019
    • Early Mem Reg Deadline: 27 May 2019
    • Cancellation Deadline: 27 May 2019

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