NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA MONTEREY United States
Numerous organizations within the Department of Defense have requested research and development efforts to create a lightweight Joint Precision Airdrop System JPADS capable of covertly distributing items to austere or contested locations. This mission has many critical challenges, with meteorological estimation near the top of the list due to a ram-air parachutes high susceptibility to environmental forces. Computer-based modeling of environmental conditions is extremely difficult due to the chaotic and often unpredictable interactions of environmental factors and the surrounding topography, so bench tests, flight tests, and the post processing of the resultant test data were the research methods used in development of this thesis. Ultimately, this thesis presents two models for winds aloft prediction capable of presenting an increased fidelity solution. Both methods were field tested and could be used in JPADS guidance, navigation, and control algorithms.