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

Please go to the 'Upgrade to a professional qualification' section for more information.

This course covers the application of all the fundamental theory of aerodynamics and propulsion to guided weapon systems including detailed worked examples and class-based tutorial exercises.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • Please enquire for course dates
  • Duration5 days
  • LocationCranfield University at Shrivenham
  • Cost

    £2,070 - Short Course for Credit fee

    £1,750 - Standalone Short Course fee

    Concessions available

What you will learn

On successful completion of the module you will be able to:


  • Comprehend the underlying principles of thermodynamics and gas dynamics, as applied to thermomechanical jet propulsion for rockets and air-breathers,
  • Understand the operating features of military rocket systems and the parameters used to assess their performance,
  • Appreciate the trade-offs involved between missile aerodynamic and propulsion design,
  • Comprehend the aerodynamic design features adopted on modern missile designs.


  • Apply the fundamental laws of fluid mechanics and aerodynamics to subsonic and supersonic missile systems,
  • Analyse, using thermodynamics and gas dynamics theory, the performance of a GW powerplant (rocket motor, turbojet, turbofan, ramjet or scramjet),
  • Calculate the necessary parameters of propulsion system individual components to meet given overall design requirements,
  • Calculate the aerodynamic characteristics of typical missile systems, as needed for subsequent stability and control analysis.

Core content

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.

GW Aerodynamics Applications – Weapon Aerodynamics

  • Supporting tutorials.

Propulsion – Rocket Design:

  • Mechanical design, rocket components (body, igniter, nozzle, inhibitors, insulators), thrust vector control methods.

Propulsion – Rocket Propellants: 

  • Liquid propellants (cryogenic and hypergolics), solid propellants (double base and composite), modifiers and additives.

Propulsion – Gas Turbines:

  • Introduction and history, operating principles, component design, thermodynamic cycle, engine performance.

Propulsion - 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.

Who should attend

Students must have successfully completed the Guided Weapons Propulsion and Aerodynamics Theory in order to take this as a Short Course for Credit . There are no prerequisites if taken as a Standalone Short Course.


Dr Derek Bray


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.