Time-Optimal Guidance for Impact Angle Constrained Interception of Moving Targets
Various unmanned missions deploy vehicles such as missiles, torpedoes, ground robots, and unmanned aerial vehicles. Guidance strategies for these vehicles aim to intercept a target point and satisfy additional objectives such as specifications on impact angle and interception time. Certain impact angles are crucial for a greater warhead effectiveness, and minimizing the interception time is important for vehicles with limited endurance time and for reducing the probability of detection. This thesis considers the time-optimal impact angle constrained guidance problem for interception of moving targets. In the first part of the thesis, a Dubins paths–based guidance methodology for minimum-time lateral interception of a moving and non-maneuvering target is designed. The existence and the time-optimality of the paths are established for impact angle constrained interception of moving targets. The capture regions are analyzed and a classification of the initial geometries is developed for deducing the time-optimal path type. The corresponding guidance command for optimal interception can be generated from the information of initial engagement geometry and target’s speed. In the next part of the thesis, the concept of equivalent virtual target is introduced to address the problem of impact along a general direction. An algorithm is developed to obtain the optimal interception point for generalized interception scenarios. A proof of convergence is presented for the proposed algorithm. Achieving different impact angles, the interceptor often takes sharp turns. Following such curved trajectories, the interceptor may fail to keep the target inside the seeker field-of-view. In the next part of the thesis, the field-of-view characteristics of the proposed optimal guidance strategies are analyzed. Closed-form expressions are derived for the interceptor’s look-angle to the target. Satisfying field-of-view condition at endpoints of the path segments that constitute the optimal path is proven to guarantee target motion inside the field-of-view throughout the engagement. The stationary target case is also analyzed as a specific scenario. The last part of the thesis presents a method to extend the proposed guidance strategies to maneuvering target scenarios.