Design of a hypersonic airbreathing cruise missile
Tutor / director / evaluatorMellibovsky Elstein, Fernando
Document typeBachelor thesis
Rights accessOpen Access
In this project, a hypersonic airbreathing cruise missile is designed through an optimization process. The main use of this futuristic weapon technology is to be employed against enemy ships while being launched from an Mk-41 VLS launcher, the most widespread VLS in the world. In this optimization process and for this type of missile, Genetic Algorithms and Monte Carlo simulations are used to find an optimal solution for the rocket booster engine, the scramjet engine, aerodynamics and warhead sizing. With this data, trajectory, stability and manoeuvrability is studied to determine the performance of the missile. Other aspects concerning the missile materials of the airframe and dome are discussed on a qualitative way and no structural analysis is studied within this project. It should be noted that hypersonic weapons are mature technologies, and the only information about them are research papers regarding their aerodynamics and propulsion systems. Then, the only built hypersonic vehicles are experimental, meaning that the baseline data to start design process scarce. This brings a great challenge to this project, where creativity and the use of analytical expressions for rapid missile synthesis and conceptual design is a must. On the other side, due to the complex behaviour of hypersonic flows, this adds difficulties to our research since most of the methods employed are numerical, which can be calculated easily on a CFD in the final stages of the design, but they are not fast enough to be implemented on the initial stages of design. The final results prove that the methods employed for initial sizing are accurate enough to model a CAD design which can be used as a baseline for future research in this technology. To conclude with, the final results obtained with the algorithms helps us to understand the effects on design, especially when flying at high Mach numbers where the classical configuration of airframe, wings and tail must be radically redesigned to more aerodynamic efficient bodies such as Waveriders. Regarding to the optimization process, objective functions were changed manually to find better results at each iteration of the optimization process but better techniques such as local search methods used in artificial intelligence could be employed.