Ballistic missile defense guidance and control issues

Paul Zarchan, "Ballistic missile defense guidance and control issues," Science & Global Security, 8, no. 1, (1999): 99-124.
Ballistic targets can be more difficult to hit than aircraft targets. If the intercept takes place out of the atmosphere and if no maneuvering is taking place, the ballistic target motion can be fairly predictable since the only force acting on the target is that of gravity. In all cases an exoatmospheric interceptor will need fuel to maneuver in order to hit the target. The long engagement times will require guidance and control strategies which conserve fuel and minimize the acceleration levels for a successful intercept. If the intercept takes place within the atmosphere, the ballistic target is not as predictable because asymmetries within the target structure may cause it to spiral. In addition, the targets' high speed means that very large decelerations will take place and appear as a maneuver to the pursuing endoatmospheric interceptor. In this case advanced guidance and control strategies are required to insure that the target can be hit even when the missile is out maneuvered. This tutorial will attempt to highlight the major guidance and control challenges facing ballistic missile defense.

Article access: Taylor & Francis Online | Free PDF