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Programs Programs and Courses about the Missile Defense

  1. Sep 13, 2016 #1

    I am interested in learning about the art of missile defense; I am particularly interested in the mathematical applications to calculate the missiles' orbits and how to countermeasure them once they are fired from the modes. I am confused where can I start searching for relevant programs in MD. I started search with physics and engineering, but I do not see a lot of programs or courses related to MD, let alone college research. Could you give me some hints?

    I am currently an undergraduate majoring in mathematics and microbiology. Unfortunately, I have not taken any course in physics.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2016 #2


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    Gold Member

    Missile defense is not likely to be taught in any course on any campus as much of it involves classified information/technology/code. The closest you will likely get is orbital mechanics in aerospace engineering.

    Missile defense has a long and sordid political history in the US. As far as experts are concerned, The American Physical Society takes a rather dim view of missile defense https://www.aps.org/policy/statements/00_2.cfm I would focus my interests in more productive areas.
  4. Sep 16, 2016 #3
    You're not going to get very far without physics, which is essential to understand the challenges and mechanics.

    Several semesters of physics, math through diff eq and numerical analysis, and several aero engineering courses are essential pre-requisites.

    It is a fascinating topic with lots of challenges, but even if a course existed suitable for your current knowledge base, all you could do was debate policy and technologies qualitatively without really understanding the details - more of a Poly Sci approach than a physics or engineering course.
  5. Sep 17, 2016 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    [thread re-opened]

    "Missile defense" isn't a college course or major, it is a broad application if many technical fields. Any generic mechanical, electrical or computer engineer can get a job in some part of some company or project, but for the particular focus you mentioned (trajectories), a physics degree would be most useful.
  6. Sep 18, 2016 #5
    Missile defense background for calculating "orbits"? What you probably need is sub-orbits not orbits.

    Best fields are Aerospace Engineering, (concentrated in controls, or estimation) or electrical engineering (concentrated in controls or estimation)
    Physics (especially Classical Mechanics)

    Both these fields also rely on computers. MATLAB seems to be very useful.

    Look for classes with names like "Linear Control Theory; Optimal Control Theory; Feedback Controls; Advanced Mechanics (physics); Signal Processing; Probability and Statistics (from engineering not mathematics programs); Kalman filtering; Optimal Estimation;
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