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Missile Attitude Measurement System



OBJECTIVE: Provide a system to accurately measure missile attitude (pitch, yaw, roll position, roll rate) during free flight missile testing at CONUS and OCONUS open air ranges for both daylight and nighttime test operations. 

DESCRIPTION: Highly accurate missile attitude measurements are required to support the development of missile performance (6-degree of freedom) and signature (UV-IR). The requirement is to measure missile attitude (yaw, pitch, roll rate, roll position) of MANPADS-type missile under live fire conditions. Accuracy requirements for pitch and yaw are +/- 1 degree (threshold) and +/- 0.5 degree (objective). Accuracy on roll rate is +/-5 rps threshold and +/-1 rps objective. Required accuracy for roll position is +/- 15 degrees threshold and +/-1 degree objective. Position measurements are not expressly required but would be a bonus. Data rate requirement for all data is 100 Hz threshold and 500 Hz objective. Measurements are required under both day and night conditions. Night operations may require an illumination system if an optical approach is used to measure missile attitude. The minimum eye-safe distance for such a system may be a discriminating factor. The complete flight envelope is contained within a 10 km long, 0.5 km wide, 2 km high region. Measurements are required from launch to point of closest approach to the target. Typical missile launcher-to-target distances are from 0.5 to 10 km. 

PHASE I: Provide an analysis of alternatives, identification of high-risk technical elements, and generation of a conceptual system design that meets/exceeds the threshold requirements. Develop a breadboard system to demonstrate the feasibility of the fundamental technique. The system design should be detailed enough to guide the Phase II work with a minimum of risk. 

PHASE II: Develop a fieldable prototype system that demonstrates the high-risk technical elements and that covers at least a portion of the threshold missile flight envelope. The prototype system must be extendable to cover at least the entire threshold envelope. Provide a detailed system design that allows coverage of the threshold/objective missile flight envelope. 

PHASE III: Provide a fieldable prototype system that covers the complete objective missile flight envelope. 


1: Conard, R. G., et al., "Techniques for Remote Sensing of Missile Position and Attitude," US Army Missile Command Technical Report RD-76-11. 1 October 1975. AD A021974.

2: Miller, T. J., Romero, E. F., Schreier, H. W., and Valley, M. T., "Application of stereo laser tracking methods for quantifying flight dynamics – II," Atmospheric Optics: Models, Measurements, and Target-in-the-Loop Propagation II, edited by Stephen M.

3:  Xiaoling, Z., Baofeng, Z., Yuchi, L., and Xiaofei, L., "Study on the attitude of dynamic missile based on vertical optical axes binocular vision system," 3rd International Symp. on Advanced Optical Manufac. and Testing Tech.: Advanced Optical Manufactu

4: Wilson, D. J., Coffee, E. W., Dedmon, R. B., and Snyder, D. R., "Doppler Interferometer Remote Attitude Measurement," IEEE Photonics Technology Letters, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1990, pp. 78 – 80.

KEYWORDS: Missile Attitude, Optical Systems, Pitch/yaw/roll, Missile Flyout, Trajectory 


Jesse Labello (AEDC/TSTA) 

(931) 454-7652 

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