Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Gary B. Lamont, PhD


The surveillance mission requires aircraft to fly from a starting point through defended terrain to targets and return to a safe destination (usually the starting point). The process of selecting such a flight path is known as the Mission Route Planning (MRP) Problem and is a three-dimensional, multi-criteria (fuel expenditure, time required, risk taken, priority targeting, goals met, etc.) path search. Planning aircraft routes involves an elaborate search through numerous possibilities, which can severely task the resources of the system being used to compute the routes. Operational systems can take up to a day to arrive at a solution due to the combinatoric nature of the problem. This delay is not acceptable because timeliness of obtaining surveillance information is critical in many surveillance missions. Also, the information that the software uses to solve the MRP may become invalid during computation. An effective and efficient way of solving the MRP with multiple aircraft and multiple targets is desired. One approach to finding solutions is to simplify and view the problem as a two-dimensional, minimum path problem. This approach also minimizes fuel expenditure, time required, and even risk taken. The simplified problem is then the Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP).

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