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Lateral Autopilot

— D Viswanath
Acknowledgment

I am most grateful to my Dr. S. E. Talole, for introducing me to this subject. His


teachings have been my source of motivation throughout this work.

(D Viswanath)
Dec 2010

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Synopsis

Broadly speaking autopilots either control the motion in the pitch and yaw planes, in
which they are called lateral autopilots, or they control the motion about the fore and
aft axis in which case they are called roll autopilots. Lateral ”g” autopilots are designed
to enable a missile to achieve a high and consistent ”g” response to a command. They
are particularly relevant to SAMs and AAMs. There are normally two lateral autopilots,
one to control the pitch or up-down motion and another to control the yaw or left-right
motion.

The requirements of a good lateral autopilot are very nearly the same for command
and homing systems but it is more helpful initially to consider those associated with
command systems where guidance receiver produces signals proportional to the mis-
alignment of the missile from the line of sight (LOS).

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Contents

Acknowledgment 1

Synopsis 2

Contents 3

1 Introduction 1

1.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

1.2 Lateral Autopilot Design Objectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

1.2.1 Maintenance of near-constant steady state aerodynamic gain . . . 4

1.2.2 Increase weathercock frequency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

1.2.3 Increase weathercock damping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

1.2.4 Reduce cross coupling between pitch and yaw motion . . . . . . . 6

1.2.5 Assistance in gathering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

2 Mathematical Modelling :
Aerodynamic Derivatives and Transfer Functions 7

2.1 Notations and Conventions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

2.2 Equations of Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

2.2.1 Euler’s Equations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

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2.3 Inertial Form of Force Equation in terms of Eulerian Axes . . . . . . . . 10

2.4 Inertial Form of Moment Equation in terms of Eulerian Axes . . . . . . . 11

References 15

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Chapter 1

Introduction

Broadly speaking autopilots either control the motion in the pitch and yaw planes, in
which they are called lateral autopilots, or they control the motion about the fore and
aft axis in which case they are called roll autopilots.

(a) Lateral ”g” autopilots are designed to enable a missile to achieve a high and con-
sistent ”g” response to a command.

(b) They are particularly relevant to SAMs and AAMs.

(c) There are normally two lateral autopilots, one to control the pitch or up-down
motion and another to control the yaw or left-right motion.

(d) They are usually identical and hence a yaw autopilot is explained here.

(e) An accelerometer is placed in the yaw plane of the missile, to sense the sideways
acceleration of the missile. This accelerometer produces a voltage proportional to
the linear acceleration.

(f) This measured acceleration is compared with the ’demanded’ acceleration.

(g) The error is then fed to the fin servos, which actuate the rudders to move the
missile in the desired direction.

(h) This closed loop system does not have an amplifier, to amplify the error. This is
because of the small static margin in the missiles and even a small error (unam-
plified) provides large airframe movement.

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Figure 1.1: Lateral Autopilot[1]

1.1 Overview

The requirements of a good lateral autopilot are very nearly the same for com-
mand and homing systems but it is more helpful initially to consider those associated
with command systems where guidance receiver produces signals proportional to the
misalignment of the missile from the line of sight (LOS). A simplified closed-loop block
diagram for a vertical or horizontal plane guidance loop without an autopilot is as shown
below: -

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Figure 1.2: Basic Guidance and Control System [1]

(a) The target tracker determines the target direction θt .

(b) Let the guidance receiver gain be K1 volts/rad (misalignment). The guidance
signals are then invariably phase advanced to ensure closed loop stability.

(c) In order to maintain constant sensitivity to missile linear displacement from the
LOS, the signals are multiplied by the measured or assumed missile range Rm
before being passed to the missile servos. This means that the effective d.c. gain
of the guidance error detector is K1 volts/m.

(d) If the missile servo gain is K2 rad/volt and the control surfaces and airframe
produce a steady state lateral acceleration of K3 m/s2 /rad then the guidance loop
has a steady state open loop gain of K1 K2 K3 m/s2 /m or K1 K2 K3 s−2 .

(e) The loop is closed by two inherent integrations from lateral acceleration to lateral
position. Since the error angle is always very small, one can say that the change in
angle is this lateral displacement divided by the instantaneous missile range Rm .

(f) The guidance loop has a gain which is normally kept constant and consists of the
product of the error detector gain, the servo gain and the aerodynamic gain.

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Consider now the possible variation in the value of aerodynamic gain K3 due to change
in static margin. The c.g. can change due to propellant consumption and manufacturing
tolerances while changes in c.p. can be due to changes in incidence, missile speed and
manufacturing tolerances. The value of K3 can change by a factor of 5 to 1 for changes
in static margin (say 2cm to 10 cm in a 2m long missile). If, in addition, there can be
large variations in the dynamic pressure 21 ρu2 due to changes in height and speed, then
the overall variation in aerodynamic gain could easily exceed 100 to 1.

1.2 Lateral Autopilot Design Objectives

The main objectives of a lateral autopilot are as listed below: -

(a) Maintenance of near-constant steady state aerodynamic gain.

(b) Increase weathercock frequency.

(c) Increase weathercock damping.

(d) Reduce cross-coupling between pitch and yaw motion and

(e) Assistance in gathering.

1.2.1 Maintenance of near-constant steady state aerodynamic


gain

A general conclusion can be drawn that an open-loop missile control system is not
acceptable for highly maneuverable missiles, which have very small static margins espe-
cially those which do not operate at a constant height and speed. In homing system,
the performance is seriously degraded if the ”kinematic gain” varies by more than about
+/ − 30 per cent of an ideal value. Since the kinematic gain depends on the control
system gain, the homing head gain and the missile-target relative velocity, and the latter
may not be known very accurately, it is not expected that the missile control designer
will be allowed a tolerance of more than +/ − 20 per cent.

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1.2.2 Increase weathercock frequency

A high weathercock frequency is essential for the stability of the guidance loop.

(a) Consider an open loop system. Since the rest of the loop consists essentially of
two integrations and a d.c. gain, it follows that if there are no dynamic lags in the
loop whatsoever we have 180 deg phase lag at all frequencies open loop.

(b) To obtain stability, the guidance error signal can be passed through phase advance
networks. If one requires more than about 60 degrees phase advance one has to use
several phase advance networks in series and the deterioration in signal-to-noise
ratio is inevitable and catastrophic.

(c) Hence normally designers tend to limit the amount of phase advance to about 60
deg. This means that if one is going to design a guidance loop with a minimum
of 45 deg phase margin, the total phase lag permissible from the missile servo and
the aerodynamics at guidance loop unity gain cross-over frequency will be 15 deg.

(d) Hence the servo must be very much faster and likewise the weathercock frequency
should be much faster (say by a factor of five or more) than the guidance loop
undamped natural frequency i.e., the open-loop unity gain cross-over frequency.

(e) This may not be practicable for an open-loop system especially at the lower end
of the missile speed range and with a small static margin. Hence the requirement
of closed loop system with lateral autopilot arises.

1.2.3 Increase weathercock damping

The weathercock mode is very under-damped, especially with a large static margin and
at high altitudes. This may result in following: -

(a) A badly damped oscillatory mode results in a large r.m.s. output to broadband
noise. The r.m.s. incidence is unnecessarily large and this results in a significant
reduction in range due to induced drag. The accuracy of the missile will also be
degraded.

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(b) A sudden increase in signal which could occur after a temporary signal fade will
result in a large overshoot both in incidence and in achieved lateral g. This might
cause stalling. Hence the airframe would have to be stressed to stand nearly twice
the maximum designed steady state g.

1.2.4 Reduce cross coupling between pitch and yaw motion

If the missile has two axes of symmetry and there is no roll rate there should be no cross
coupling between the pitch and yaw motion. However many missiles are allowed to roll
freely. Roll rate and incidence in yaw will produce acceleration along z axis. Similarly
roll rate and angular motion induce moments in pitch or yaw axis. These cross coupling
effects can be regarded as disturbances and any closed-loop system will be considerably
less sensitive to any disturbance than an open-loop one.

1.2.5 Assistance in gathering

In a command system, the missile is usually launched some distance off the line of sight.
At the same time, to improve guidance accuracy, the systems engineer will want the
narrowest guidance beam possible. Thrust misalignment, biases and cross winds all
contribute to dispersion of the missile resulting in its loss. A closed-loop missile control
system (i.e., an autopilot) will be able to reasonably resist the above disturbances and
help in proper gathering.

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Chapter 2

Mathematical Modelling :
Aerodynamic Derivatives and
Transfer Functions

2.1 Notations and Conventions

The reference axis system standardized in the guided weapons industry is centred
on the c.g. and fixed in the body, as follows:

(a) x axis, called the roll axis, forwards, along the axis of symmetry if one exists, but
in any case in the plane of symmetry.

(b) y axis called the pitch axis, outwards and to the right if viewing the missile from
behind

(c) z axis, called the yaw axis, downwards in the plane of symmetry to form a right
handed orthogonal system with the other two.

Table given below defines the forces and moments acting on the missile, the linear and
angular velocities, and the moments of inertia.

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*Missile velocity along x-axis U is denoted by a capital letter to emphasise that it is
a large positive quantity changing at most only a few percent per second

(a) Linear velocity νor V = ui + vj + zk

(b) Rotational velocity ω = pi + qj + rk

(c) Force F = Xi + Yj + Zk

(d) Moments M = Li + Mj + Nk

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R
(e) Moments of inertia Ix = (y 2 + z 2 ) dm = Σ(yi2 + zi2 )mi
R
(f) Products of inertia Iyz = yz dM (when body not symmetrical).

2.2 Equations of Motion

The equations of motion of a missile with controls fixed may be derived from Newton’s
second law of motion, which states that the rate of change of momentum of a body is
proportional to the summation of forces applied to the body and that the rate of change
of the moment of momentum is proportional to the summation of moments applied to
the body. Mathematically, this law of motion may be written as (Reference axis can be
taken as the inertial axis (fixed) x,y,z): -

(a) Summation of Forces

d(mU )
ΣFx = (2.1)
dt
d(mV )
ΣFy =
dt
d(mW )
ΣFz =
dt

(b) Summation of Moments

d(hx )
ΣMx = (2.2)
dt
d(hy )
ΣMy =
dt
d(hz )
ΣMz =
dt

where hx , hy , hz are moments of momentum about x, y and z and may be written


in terms of moments of inertia and products of inertia and angular velocities p,q
and r of the missile as follows: -

hx = pIx − qIxy − rIxz (2.3)


hy = qIy − rIyz − pIxy
hz = rIz − pIxz − qIyz

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For designing an autopilot, we can consider a particular point in space instead of
considering the complete trajectory (system parameters will not be the same at different
points of the trajectory). In that case, mass can be assumed as constant. Hence the
force equations can be rewritten as
dV
ΣF = m (2.4)
dt

where V = uî + v ĵ + wk̂.

2.2.1 Euler’s Equations

The equations of motion as per Newton’s laws of motion for translational system are
written about an inertial or fixed axis. They are extremely cumbersome and must be
modified before the motion of the missile can be conveniently analysed. In eqn (1), if
î, ĵ and k̂ are considered as not varying with time, then Newton’s law will no longer
be valid since î, ĵ and k̂ with respect to missile body frame change with time. Hence a
moving-axis system called the Eulerian axes or Body axis (for rotational system)
is commonly used. This axis system is a right-handed system of orthogonal coordinate
axes whose origin is at the center of gravity of the missile and whose orientation is fixed
with respect to the missile. The two main reasons for the use of the Eulerian axes in
the dynamic analysis of the airframe are: -

(a) The velocities along these axes are identical to those measured by instruments
mounted in the missile and

(b) The moments and products of inertia are independent of time.

2.3 Inertial Form of Force Equation in terms of Eu-


lerian Axes

Since we now consider î, ĵ and k̂ also as variables, the derivative of linear velocity, V, in
the force equation is given by
dV dV
( )I = ( )B + ω X V (2.5)
dt dt

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Substituting for V in ( dV ) and since î, ĵ and k̂ are considered constant in this body
dt B
axes form, we get
dV du dv dw
( )B = î + ĵ + k̂ (2.6)
dt dt dt dt

The cross-product ω X V can now be given as

ω X V = (pî + q ĵ + rk̂) X (uî + v ĵ + z k̂) (2.7)

or
 
î ĵ k̂
ω X V = det  p q r  (2.8)
 

u v w

Expanding the determinant gives

ω X V = î(qw − rv) + ĵ(ru − pw) + k̂(pv − qu) (2.9)

Substituting equations (2.6) and (2.9) in (2.5) gives


dV du dv dw
( )I = î + î(qw − rv) + ĵ + ĵ(ru − pw) + k̂ + k̂(pv − qu) (2.10)
dt dt dt dt
Hence the Force equation (2.4) can be written/resolved in terms of X, Y and Z compo-
nents acting along x,y and z axes respectively as: -

du
X= + (qw − rv) (2.11)
dt
dv
Y = + (ru − pw)
dt
dw
Z= + (pv − qu)
dt

2.4 Inertial Form of Moment Equation in terms of


Eulerian Axes

The moments acting on a body are equal to the rate of change of angular momentum
that is given by
dH
M =( )I (2.12)
dt
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Angular momentum is equal to the moment of linear momentum whereas the linear
momentum is product of mass and velocity where velocity for a rotating mass is the
vector cross product of angular velocity (ω ) and distance from c.g.(r). That is

v̂ = ω̂ X r̂

Linear Momentum=dm ∗ v̂=dm ∗ (ω X r)


Angular Momentum (dH)=r̂ X Linear Momentum=r̂ X dm ∗ (ω̂ X r̂)
Hence
Z
H= (r̂ X (ω̂ X r̂))dm (2.13)

Considering ω̂ = pî + q ĵ + rk̂ and r̂ = xî + y ĵ + z k̂, their cross product is given by
 
î ĵ k̂
ω̂ X r̂ = det  p q r  (2.14)
 

x y z
Expanding the determinant gives

ω̂ X r̂ = î(qz − ry) + ĵ(rx − pz) + k̂(py − qx) (2.15)

The vector cross product r̂ X (ω̂ X r̂) is now given as


 
î ĵ k̂
r̂ X (ω̂ X r̂) = det  x y z (2.16)
 

(qz − ry) (rx − pz) (py − qx)

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Expanding the above determinant gives

r̂ X (ω̂ X r̂) = [p(y 2 +z 2 )−qxy−rxz]î+[q(x2 +z 2 )−ryz−pxy]ĵ+[r(x2 +y 2 )−pxz−qyz]k̂


(2.17)

Hence the total angular momentum is given by


Z
H = ([p(y 2 +z 2 )−qxy−rxz]dmî+[q(x2 +z 2 )−ryz−pxy]dmĵ+[r(x2 +y 2 )−pxz−qyz]dmk̂)
(2.18)

Defining the moment of inertia along the x,y and z axes respectively as
Z
Ix = (y 2 + z 2 ) dm (2.19)
Z
Iy = (x2 + z 2 ) dm
Z
Iz = (x2 + y 2 ) dm

and similarly
Z
Ixy = (xy) dm (2.20)
Z
Ixz = (xz) dm
Z
Iyz = (yz) dm

the equation for H can be rewritten as

H = [pIx − qIxy − rIxz ]î + [qIy − rIyz − pIxy ]ĵ + [rIz − pIxz − qIyz ]k̂ (2.21)

Thus the moment acting on the body


dH
M =( )I (2.22)
dt
can also given by
dH
M =( )B + (ω X H) (2.23)
dt
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The term ( dH ) is given by
dt B

dH d d d
)B = [pIx − qIxy − rIxz ]î + [qIy − rIyz − pIxy ]ĵ + [rIz − pIxz − qIyz ]k̂ (2.24)
dt dt dt dt
and the term ω X H is given by

ω X H = [pî+q ĵ+rk̂] X [[pIx −qIxy −rIxz ]î+[qIy −rIyz −pIxy ]ĵ+[rIz −pIxz −qIyz ]k̂] (2.25)

which can be given by


 
î ĵ k̂
ω X H= p q r (2.26)
 

(pIx − qIxy − rIxz ) (qIy − rIyz − pIxy ) (rIz − pIxz − qIyz )

Expanding the determinant we get

ω X H = î[qrIz − qpIxz − q 2 Iyz − rqIy + r2 Iyz + rpIxy] (2.27)


+ĵ[rpIx − rqIxy − r2 Ixz − rpIz + p2 Ixz + pqIyz]
+k̂[pqIy − prIyz − p2 Ixy − pqIx + q 2 Ixy + qrIxz]

Hence the Moment equation can be resolved in terms of L, M and N components acting
along x,y and z axes respectively using
dH
M =( )B + (ω X H) (2.28)
dt
and

M = Lî + M ĵ + N k̂ (2.29)

as: -

L = [ṗIx + pI˙x − q̇Ixy − q Ixy


˙ − ṙIxz − rIxz
˙ ] + [qrIz − qpIxz − q 2 Iyz − rqIy + r2 Iyz + rpIxy]
(2.30)
M = [q̇Iy + q I˙y − ṙIyz − rIyz
˙ − ṗIxy − pIxy
˙ ] + [rpIx − rqIxy − r2 Ixz − rpIz + p2 Ixz + pqIyz]

N = [ṙIz + rI˙z − ṗIxz − pIxz


˙ − q̇Iyz − q Iyz
˙ ] + [pqIy − prIyz − p2 Ixy − pqIx + q 2 Ixy + qrIxz]

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References

[1] P. Garnell, Guided Weapon Control Systems. London: Brassey’s Defence Publishers,
1980.

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