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

Provides you with an understanding of the principles, concepts and techniques of Guided Weapon propulsion.

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 underlying principles of thermodynamics and gas dynamics to thermomechanical jet propulsion for rockets and ramjet propulsion;
  • Critically analyse and compare and evaluate the performance of GW rocket motor systems using the parameters that are governed by their operating features;
  • Analyse, using thermodynamics and gas dynamics theory, the performance of a GW powerplant (rocket motor, gas turbine or ramjet);
  • Design propulsion systems by calculating the necessary parameters of individual subsystem components to meet specified overall requirements.

Core content

  • Introduction: General features of missile propulsion systems and definitions/classifications.
  • Thermodynamics: Definitions, thermodynamic properties, 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics.
  • Gas Dynamics: Conservation laws, isentropic flow relationships, duct flows (convergent and convergent-divergent nozzles), Mach number; normal and oblique shock wave properties.
  • Performance Parameters: Thrust, specific impulse, effective exhaust velocity, specific propellant consumption, specific fuel consumption, efficiency (overall, thermal and propulsive).
  • Flight Mechanics: Range and velocity equations.
  • Introduction to Air-Breathers: Operating principles and design features of gas turbines (turbojets and turbofans), pulsejets, ramjets and scramjets; missile applications.
  • Gas Turbine Engines: jet propulsion principles; specific thrust and specific fuel consumption; efficiency (propulsive, thermal, overall) and thrust power; non[1]dimensional performance parameters; thermodynamic (Brayton) cycle analysis; turbojet and turbofan component design; gas turbine running line; worked design examples.
  • Rockets: Description and features, history, military applications, criteria of performance (thrust, specific impulse, total impulse, thrust coefficient, characteristic velocity, internal ballistics (combustion), burn rate, self[1]regulation, sensitivity, grain shapes (radial and end-burners).
  • Rocket Design: Mechanical design, rocket components (body, igniter, nozzle, inhibitors, insulators), thrust vector control methods.
  • Introduction to Rocket Propellants: Introduction to Liquid propellants (cryogenic and hypergolics), solid propellants (double base and composite), modifiers and additives.
  • Ramjets: Introduction and history, operating principles, component design, thermodynamic cycle, engine performance.

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.


Laura Lacey


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.