PhD Studentship: Trajectory Optimization for Complex Air Vehicles

Cranfield University

Project Description                                            

Full Studentship including Industrial Placement

Duration: 3 years

With our esteemed partner, we are looking for a well-qualified and motivated PhD student to conduct the following fascinating research project:

Cranfield University and DSTL have defined a program of research entitled "Trajectory Optimization for Complex Air Vehicles (Missiles)". The PhD has the ambition to tackle the fundamental problem of providing a reliable and efficient optimised trajectory design techniques for hypersonic missiles as part of a new and innovative research program within DSTL.

 The feasibility of making hypersonic missile flight efficient is strongly linked to the development of the reliable flight trajectory imposed for this structure. This design is very challenging to achieve taking into account the mission scenario for the missiles and the dynamics of these structures including all the couplings existing between their different components (the elastic airframe, the propulsion system and the structural dynamics).

 Thus, we propose to investigate the following for this study:

  1. Online trajectory optimization approaches that have the advantages of providing large autonomy by being less reliant on the extensive pre-flight
  2. Develop robust while being adaptive trajectory optimisation in the context of control of such complex missile systems.
  3. A greater look will be given to the terminal guidance phase of the missile trajectory. Other phases of the flight trajectory will be also be considered.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must be UK nationals only. Applicants should hold at least a Bachelor Degree of either First Class or hold a Masters Degree (MSc/MRes) in Electrical/Aerospace/Applied Mathematics or any other relevant discipline of Engineering.

Candidates should have a good basis in mathematics with good scientific programming skills (Matlab). Experience in control systems, optimization and/or aerodynamics is an asset. Good interpersonal and communication (oral and written in English) skills are also required.

How to apply

A CV and the name and address of two referees should be sent to Prof Aouf at

Funding Notes

Applicants are eligible for a bursary of up to £16,000-£17,000 p.a. for the duration of the award dependent upon qualifications and experience. This studentship will additionally cover the tuition fees for qualified UK

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South East England