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An Optimal End-Game Guidance Law with a Jerk Constraint

By Natan Grinfeld and Joseph Z. Ben-Asher


Many tactical and strategic missiles have been using Proportional Navigation Guidance (PNG)
law for decades. Its simple implementation along with its high accuracy has made PN the most
popular guidance law in many applications. Some specific applications, however, may face
problems when trying to implement the PNG law. One such application is the case of a physical
constraint on the jerk (first derivative of the acceleration) for the intercept missile. This case may
occur mainly in exo-atmospheric, thrust vector maneuvering missiles, in which the generation of
the required acceleration maneuver is less immediate then the case of an endo-atmospheric
aerodynamic maneuvering missiles.
Though being brought into consideration indirectly through the time constant of the flight
control, the jerk constraint has never been implemented directly and explicitly when deriving an
optimal guidance law. The need for such a development of an optimal, jerk constraint, guidance
law arises when introducing such constraint on the jerk on a common PNG law. It was first
shown, as motivation for the study, that under a tight jerk constraint the missile misses the target
using PN.
This research objective is to develop an end-game phase optimal guidance law with jerk limit
considerations and investigate its performance in comparison to PN and APN (Augmented
Proportional Navigation) laws and in the cases of a physical constraint on the jerk.
By introducing a fourth state variable of
m
n

(missile's acceleration) and adding a "price" on its
derivative, thus obtaining the system of
1 2 3 4
; ; ;
t m
x y x y x n x n = = = = , and solving the problem
of:
( )
2
1
0, min
2
f
o
t
f m
t
y t J n dt
| |
= =
|
\ .
}
, using Cauchy-Schwartz inequality, an optimal, jerk
minimizing guidance law was developed.
The new guidance command is in the form of:
3
2
:
1
10; ;
2
m
go
go go go f
N ZEM
n
t
where
N ZEM y t y t y t t t
'
=
' = = + + =

The new guidance law, named JLG (Jerk Limited Guidance), was tested against both PN and
APN.
The results are interesting: JLG turns out to be more efficient than PN under a jerk limit as
expected, and under certain jerk limitations, the missile hit the target using JLG while missing
using PN. Since it is not a fair game comparing JLG to PN because JLG is using knowledge of
the targets maneuver while PN isnt, it was decided to compare JLG to APN which also uses
that knowledge.
When comparing those methods against a constant target acceleration, both methods hit the
target but with a very different behavior. While APN reacts to the targets maneuver with an
instant acceleration peak in order to cancel the targets advantage (while doing so, assuming
the target will continue with the same maneuver), JLG has a much more moderate acceleration
reaction, building its acceleration slowly, to arrive at a maximum level of acceleration only after
half of the end game time.
This encouraged the test of both methods against a bang-bang maneuvering target. It turns out
that against a bang-bang maneuvering target, under a jerk limit, JLG is much more efficient, at
some cases (depending on the acceleration switch time) hitting the target while APN misses, thus
due to the moderate reaction which is much more suited to changes in the maneuver than the
straight forward approach of APN.
Next to be studied in the research, is the guidance law performance and sensitivity to changes
through an adjoint system representation.