Reducing miss distance by using twisting wing control

O. Birarov, Y. Ben-Asher, G. Hexner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The purpose of this study is to present a new method for controlling missile's flight path. The method relies on twisting a high aspect ratio wing to obtain the lift required to alter the missile's flight path. Because the flight control is carried out by the main wings, very short response times are obtained. This in turn enables the achievement of surprisingly small miss distances. The missile is guided by twisting its wings and generating direct lift. The tail serves as a stabilizer only and does not move. The roots of the wings are attached rigidly to the fuselage, while the wing tips are twisted by small servos. The wing twist is zero near the root of the wing and increases linearly to the wing tip. This in turn causes the maximum lift to be produced near the wing tip. The resulting distribution of lift minimizes the induced flow impinging on the tail surfaces, which in turn results in minimal induced roll moment. The study compares the performance of the missile using the wing twist method of piloting with the performance of a missile which is piloted conventionally by deflecting the rear fin when the wings are rigid. To compare the miss distances achievable using the two piloting methods a simple simulation was implemented. The performances of the two missiles were compared in two scenarios. Miss distances due to an initial heading error and miss distance due to step in target acceleration. The results of the miss distance study demonstrate the superiority of the missile piloted by wing twisting. It was found that miss distance for heading error was zero when time to go was bigger than one second and significantly lower for smaller time to go. The miss distance due to target step acceleration showed even bigger differences. The miss distance for the missile controlled by twisting its wing was less than one tenth of the miss distance obtained for the tail controlled missile.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication49th Israel Annual Conference on Aerospace Sciences 2009
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
Event49th Israel Annual Conference on Aerospace Sciences 2009 - Tel Aviv and Haifa, Israel
Duration: 4 Mar 20095 Mar 2009

Publication series

Name49th Israel Annual Conference on Aerospace Sciences 2009


Conference49th Israel Annual Conference on Aerospace Sciences 2009
CityTel Aviv and Haifa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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