[From Bill Williams 19 November 2001 1:15 CST]

Subscribers to and lurkers on the net might be interested in a
book I saw today on the "New Books" shelving. _Sidewinder:
Creative Missile Development at China Lake_ 1999 by Ron Westrum
tells the story of the development of an air to air missile during
the 1950's. The Sidewinder was a comparatively cheap, heat seeking
self-guided missile which out performed a much more expensive radar
guided Falcon. Unfortunately the treatment of control theory in
_Sidewinder_ is less extensive and more implicit than a CSG type
reader would desire-- but the problems of control, stability, error
terms, etc are all there if you read between the lines a bit.

The passage below, one of the characteristics of the self-guided
system-- its unprecedented and unexpected accuracy is described.

"Significantly the second shot did not go up the target's tailpipe.
It missed slightly, but the proximity fuze set off the warhead, which
blew the second Matador out of the sky. This was a godsend for the
fuze people, because the large number of contact hits had not given
them an opportunity to evaluate the proximity fuze on a jet target."
p. 149.

Westrum, Ron. 1999 _Sidewinder_ Naval Institute Press: Annapolis, Maryland


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