Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Astronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Robert A. Bettinger, PhD


A study of defensive architectures for combating hypersonic glide vehicles (HGVs) via interception with a ground-based interceptor (GBI) is presented. Pursuit-evasion differential games are formulated for numerical simulation of the interception engagements. A one-sided optimal control problem wherein the evader HGV is optimized and the pursuer GBI employs a suboptimal proportional navigation control strategy is solved. The solution space is characterized by varying the pursuer initial velocity advantage relative to the evader. A two-sided optimal control problem in which both players behave optimally is solved via the semi-direct collocation with nonlinear programming (semiDCNLP) method. The resulting state and control trajectories are candidate minimax solutions to a GBI-HGV kinetic kill engagement. Subsequently, an overarching survey of the defensive architecture is discussed, specifically in terms of a detection and tracking network, the deployment of ground-, space and air-based interceptor batteries, and the firing doctrine. This holistic defensive architecture is explored in the context of classical combat aircraft survivability analysis. Probabilities of kill for a GBI against an HGV are computed in case studies considering a direct hit and proximity kill mechanism with varying levels of degraded threat detection and tracking.

AFIT Designator



Cleared for public release, 88ABW-2022-0258.

4. SF 298 - Zittrouer.pdf (241 kB)
SF298 for AFIT-ENY-MS-22-M-320