Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Steven T. Fiorino, PhD.


The 1976 U.S. standard atmosphere, a 50th percentile climatological profile, a ground observation based profile, and 48, 24, and 12 hour GFS forecast derived profiles are compared to actual sounding data and characterized for meteorological parameter predictive performance. Predictive HEL engagement performance is analyzed through AFIT/CDEs HELTDA for relevant engagement scenarios for multiple wavelengths. Operational optimization is demonstrated utilizing GFS forecast predictions in nearly all cases. Ground observation-based profiles prove advantageous for certain wavelengths regardless of decisive predictive capability in vertical profile characterization methods revealing wavelength dependence attributed to the multivariate nature of HEL energy propagation. Specific cases are analyzed and demonstrate dwell time optimization and tactical advantages possible with altitude, heading, and flight profile modifications. Results indicate that in a majority of cases, existing conditions may be exploited for an operational advantage in the employment of directed weapons if correctly anticipated and analyzed.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number