On the Swerve Response of Projectiles to Control Input

Report No. ARL-CR-0604
Authors: Douglas Ollerenshaw and Mark Costello
Date/Pages: April 2008; 30 pages
Abstract: The swerve response of fin- and spin-stabilized projectiles to control mechanism input is sometimes not intuitive and often surprises smart weapon designers. This report seeks to explain the basic parameters that govern swerve of projectiles excited by control input. By modeling the overall effect of any control mechanism as a non-rolling reference frame force or moment applied to the projectile, we obtain general expressions for swerve in terms of basic vehicle parameters. These compact expressions are used to show that maximum swerve response for a fin-stabilized projectile is achieved when the force is applied near the nose of the projectile, while maximum swerve response for a spin-stabilized projectile is achieved when the force is applied near the base of the projectile.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: April 1, 2008