This course can be taken as a Short Course for Credit or Standalone Short Course.

A one-week introduction to propulsion and aerodynamic theory, specifically related to guided weapon systems.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • Please enquire for course dates
  • Duration5 days
  • LocationCranfield University at Shrivenham
  • Cost£2,350 - Short Course for Credit fee 

    £1,925 - Standalone Short Course fee Concessions available

Course structure

Classroom lectures and tutorials. Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)-directed study.

What you will learn

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Apply the fundamental laws of fluid mechanics and aerodynamics to subsonic and supersonic missile systems;
  • Estimate the aerodynamic characteristics of typical missile systems, as needed for subsequent stability and control analysis;
  • Evaluate the trade-offs involved between missile aerodynamic design and other disciplines.

Core content

  • Fundamental Definitions: Fluids, fluid properties, basic equations, ISA.
  • Basic Fluid Dynamics: Streamlines and streamtubes, continuity equation, Bernoulli’s equation, pressure coefficient, airspeed measurement, isentropic flow.
  • Hydrodynamics: Buoyancy, virtual mass effects, cavitation and ventilation.
  • Basic Aerodynamics: Viscous flow, Reynolds number, boundary layers, lift and drag, force and moment coefficients, wind tunnel testing.
  • Origins of Lift: Aerofoil section and wing geometry, physical theory, circulation theory, pressure distributions, lift curves, 3-D lift, centre of pressure, aerodynamic centre.
  • Subsonic Drag: Profile drag, downwash, induced drag, drag reduction, winglets.
  • Compressible Flow: Subsonic and supersonic propagation of disturbances, von Karman’s rules of supersonic flow, sound waves, flows around convex and concave corners, Prandtl-Mayer expansion fans.
  • Transonic Flow: Prandtl-Glauert theory, sound barrier problems, supercritical wing sections.
  • Supersonic Flow: Ackeret theory, supersonic wing sections, drag breakdown, unswept supersonic wings, Subsonic.
  • GW Aerodynamics Applications: Weapon aerodynamics, aerofoil sections, swept wing, slender delta wings, bodies (axial and normal force), wing/body combinations, controls, missile trim and stability, aerodynamic derivatives, aerodynamic interactions, high angle of attack aerodynamics, aerodynamic heating and heat transfer.
  • General Aerodynamics: Supporting tutorials.
  • Weapon Aerodynamics: Supporting tutorials.

Upgrade to a professional qualification

When taken as a Short Course for Credit, 10 credit points can be put towards the Guided Weapon Systems MSc.

Find out more about short course credit points.


A limited number of MOD sponsored places are available

Location and travel

Cranfield Defence and Security (CDS) is a Cranfield School based at the Ministry of Defence establishment on the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire borders.

Shrivenham itself lies in the picturesque Vale of the White Horse, close to the M4 motorway which links London and South Wales. It is 7 miles from Swindon, the nearest town, which lies off the M4 at the hub of Britain’s motorway network.

Bath, Cheltenham, Bristol and Oxford are all within an hour’s drive and London less than two hours away by car.

All visitors must be pre-booked in at reception by the person they are visiting on the campus.

How to apply

To apply for this course please use the online application form.

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.