Roll Angle Estimation Using Thermopiles for a Flight Controlled Mortar

Report No. ARL-RP-380
Authors: Michael Don; David Grzybowski; Richard Christian IV
Date/Pages: June 2012; 20 pages
Abstract: Although high cost guided missiles are a mature technology, low cost precision munitions is a new field with many technological challenges. One of these challenges is to find inexpensive sensors to replace expensive high-precision sensors that exist in traditional smart weapons. Thermopiles are low cost sensors that convert thermal energy into electrical energy. By using thermopiles to sense the difference in thermal energy between the ground and sky, the roll angle of a projectile can be determined. In July of 2011, the Army Research Labs conducted a flight test of an 81-mm Flight Controlled Mortar (FCMortar) equipped with four thermopile sensors. Roll angle was accurately estimated by processing the thermopile data with a Recursive Least Squares (RLS) filter implemented on a field programmable gate array (FPGA). These results demonstrate the feasibility of using thermopiles on precision munitions for real-time roll angle estimation.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: June 1, 2012