Modern Missile Systems

Course #PC4860

Est.imated Completion Time: 3 months


This course provides an overview of the components and underlying technologies of modern missile systems. The course gives an introduction to missile aerodynamic design considerations, motion and control, propulsion & range, navigation & guidance, IR and radar seekers, and conventional warheads, followed by an introduction to the physics of missile intercept and lethality considerations.

Included in degrees & certificates

  • 235


  • An understanding of introductory mechanics and a familiarity with Matlab (or other high level programming language) is assumed.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the physical basis of aerodynamic lift and drag
  • Estimate the lift and drag of a missile over a range of Mach number and angles of attack
  • Describe what causes a missile to be statically unstable in pitch
  • Differentiate between different mechanisms to control a missile 
  • Calculate the thrust generated by a rocket motor
  • Estimate the range and velocity of a missile under different scenarios 
  • Differentiate between the different guidance strategies
  • List the rules of thumb for proportional navigation
  • Differentiate between radar and infra-red seekers
  • Estimate the probability of kill for a blast fragmentation warhead 


Offerings database access
Asset Publisher

Application Deadlines

  •  08 Jan 2024

    Spring Quarter applications due

  •  01 Apr 2024

    Summer Quarter applications due

  •  08 Jul 2024

    Fall Quarter applications due

Asset Publisher

Academic Calendar

  •  09 Oct 2023

    Columbus Day (holiday)

  •  24 Oct 2023

    Shift day: treat as Friday class schedule

  •  10 Nov 2023

    Veteran's Day (holiday)

See NPS Academic Calendar for more dates.