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Unconventional control

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Unconventional control systems is a broad category that includes a number of advanced technologies. Most techniques involve some kind of thrust vectoring. Thrust vectoring is defined as a method of deflecting the missile exhaust to generate a component of thrust in a vertical and/or horizontal direction. This additional force points the nose in a new direction causing the missile to turn. Another technique that is just starting to be introduced is called reaction jets. Reaction jets are usually small ports in the surface of a missile that create a jet exhaust perpendicular to the vehicle surface and produce an effect similar to thrust vectoring.


Unconventional control technologies
Unconventional control technologies

These techniques are most often applied to high off-bore sight air-to-air missiles like AIM-9X Sidewinder and IRIS-T to provide exceptional maneuverability. The greatest advantage of such controls is that they can function at very low speeds or in a vacuum where there is little or no airflow to act on conventional fins. The primary drawback, however, is that they will not function once the fuel supply is exhausted.


Missiles with unconventional controls
Missiles with unconventional controls

Examples of missiles employing unconventional controls are shown above. Note that most missiles equipped with unconventional controls do not rely on these controls alone for maneuverability, but only as a supplement to aerodynamic surfaces like canards and tail fins.

NexT   {Homing Guidance}


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Last modified: 10/12/05.