Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Mario G. Perhinschi

Committee Member

Jason N. Gross

Committee Member

Wade W. Huebsch


This thesis presents the development of a six-degree-of-freedom flight simulation environment for missiles and the application thereof to investigate the flight performance of missiles when exposed to external damage. The simulation environment was designed to provide a realistic representation of missile flight dynamics including aerodynamic effects, flight control systems, and self-guidance. The simulation environment was designed to be modular, expandable, and include realistic models of external damage to the missile body obtained by adversarial counteraction.

The primary objective of this research was to examine missile flight performance when subjected to unspecified external damage, including changes in trajectory, stability, and controllability, and to provide a basis for the future development of fault tolerant control laws to improve target tracking and overall flight performance when experiencing abnormal conditions. To accomplish this, a variety of scenarios were developed to simulate damage to different parts of the missile, such as the fuselage, wings, and control surfaces. Three types of damage are considered: arbitrary failures which affect the major overall missile dynamic force and moment coefficients, structural failures including wings and fin breakage, and stuck fin failures where a given fin is arbitrarily fixed to a specified deflection. The missile behavior in response to these scenarios was analyzed and compared to the baseline behavior of an undamaged missile.

The results of this research demonstrate how simulated missiles behave during flight, under both nominal and abnormal scenarios resulting from external damage. The simulation environment is shown to be a useful tool in examining the performance of missiles under real-world scenarios, such as during combat, in the event of an accident, or when exposed to other adversarial counteractions. This is done by producing envelopes for mission success for each tested scenario and analyzing the results. The results of this research can be used to assist in and improve the design and performance of missiles and enhance their survivability in the field. These results can also be used to determine the amount of damage necessary to prevent a given missile from reaching its target.