Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Montgomery C. Hughson, PhD


Lattice grid fins have been studied for missile tail control for several years. A lattice grid fin can be described as an unconventional missile control surface comprised of an outer frame supported by an inner lattice grid of lifting surfaces. This unconventional fin design offers favorable lift characteristics at high angle of attack as well as almost zero hinge moments allowing the use of small and light actuators. In addition, they promise good storability for potential tube-launched and internal carriage dispenser-launched applications. The drawback for the lattice grid fins is the high drag and potentially poor radar cross section performance produced by this unconventional control surface configuration. Current research at the United State Air Force's Aeroballistic Research Facility (ARF) at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida has indicated there is a critical transonic Mach number where normal shock waves are believed to be present within some of the grid cells. At this particular Mach number, there is a dynamic instability with severe variations of the pitch moment coefficient. A computational fluid dynamics (CFD) study was conducted to investigate these findings and elucidate the flowfield in the grid fin region. The missile model was numerically modeled in Gridgen and computational tests were run in Fluent. Finally, another fin configuration was developed that produced less drag and similar dynamic stability that the other lattice grid fin configurations tested.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number