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

This course provides an understanding of the principles, concepts and techniques of various key facets of GW design, including propellants, explosives, warheads, fuses and terminal effects

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 you will be able to:

  • Identify the requirements for GW warheads, including choice of explosive and fusing,
  • Select and evaluate the warhead, explosive and fuse for use in a GW designed for a given scenario to include terminal effects,
  • Analyse the performance of different rocket propellants, and the GW operational requirements that impact their selection.

Core content

  • Warheads: Introduction to the design of warheads in relation to the type of attacks; review of the characteristics of blast, fragmentation and shaped charges and their effects on the design of warheads; assessment of the effect of different warheads on various types of target; review of the explosives components and the safety and arming systems in guided weapons.
  • Non-conventional Warhead Technologies: nuclear, chemical & biological warheads.
  • Explosives: Review of explosives suitable for warheads and of the various designs of a range of warheads; evaluation of the methods whereby a requirement for a lethal package may be translated into a design; calculation of the characteristics of explosives and high explosives.
  • Terminal Effects: Selection of material’s mechanical and physical properties for both the missile and the warhead components.
  • Fuses: Review of fuse types and technologies involved as well as the selection of fuse type for different target types and trajectories.
  • Rocket Propellants: Liquid propellants (cryogenic and hypergolic), solid propellants (double base and composite), hybrid propellants, modifiers and additives

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.


Steve Champion


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.