posted on May, 22 2006 @ 03:35 PM
Yes but the missile never flies directly towards the target unless it's a strictly head on or tail chase engagement. It flies to a point in space
where the target is predicted to be based on its speed and bearing relative to the speed and bearing of the missile - this requires the use of
ballistic tracking algorithms. Air to air gun sights require the same thing - I remember reading that the Russians were particularly proud of the
algorithms used in the gun tracking software used by the MiG-29, it's that good.
It is for this reason that very fast moving targets can find it relatively easy to wreck a firing solution simply by making small course changes.
During practice engagements performed by F-15s on a SR-71 flying at high altitude and Mach 3, the Eagle drivers reported that their fire control
systems had no trouble computing a firing solution for a Sparrow AAM launch when the Blackbird was travelling in a straight line. However, when the
Blackbird pilot shifted course just a couple of degrees (done verrrrry slowly at Mach 3), the Eagles could not compute a firing solution.
Fire control algorithms are some interesting stuff, I don't even know what language is typically used - doubtless plain Machine Code for the earliest
versions. Good question though.