The thermal environment is an important factor in the design of optical systems. This study investigated the thermal analysis technology of optical systems for navigation guidance and control in supersonic aircraft by developing empirical equations for the front temperature gradient and rear thermal diffusion distance, and for basic factors such as flying parameters and the structure of the optical system. Finite element analysis (FEA) was used to study the relationship between flying and front dome parameters and the system temperature field. Systematic deduction was then conducted based on the effects of the temperature field on the physical geometry and ray tracing performance of the front dome and rear optical lenses, by deriving the relational expressions between the system temperature field and the spot size and positioning precision of the rear optical lens. The optical systems used for navigation guidance and control in supersonic aircraft when the flight speed is in the range of 1–5 Ma were analysed using the derived equations. Using this new method it was possible to control the precision within 10% when considering the light spot received by the four-quadrant detector, and computation time was reduced compared with the traditional method of separately analysing the temperature field of the front dome and rear optical lens using FEA. Thus, the method can effectively increase the efficiency of parameter analysis and computation in an airborne optical system, facilitating the systematic, effective and integrated thermal analysis of airborne optical systems for navigation guidance and control.
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