Kinetic Energy Boost Phase Intercept

[Program Description][Program Status][Program Management]

Program Description

The Boost Phase Intercept (BPI) Phase I ACTD evaluated the affordability and assessed the operational utility and mission effectiveness of BPI engagements of tactical ballistic missiles. The objective was to intercept these missiles before they could deploy submunitions or other countermeasures. Engagements were designed to occur before the Theater Ballistic Missile (TBM) rose above the influence of the atmosphere. In addition, early intercepts would result in a significant shortfall in impact range of the TBM debris. This BPI capability is portrayed in Figure 2-3. The need for BPI capability is driven by the potential for post-boost countermeasures to the currently planned Theater Missile Defense (TMD) systems. In addition, the intercept debris may be contained in enemy territory during BPI engagements which is especially critical when chemical/ nuclear/biological weapons are involved. As ballistic missile capabilities proliferate, BPI becomes an increasingly important complement to planned TMD systems.

The BPI ACTD technical approach employed a high speed tactical missile with a kinetic kill vehicle carried on an airbreathing platform such as the F-14 or F-15. The missile was capable of velocities in excess of 3 km/s and a range of 120 km, and was designed to be a precursor to an objective system with a 5.5 km/s velocity and a 250 km range. On-board and off-board sensors were used to detect, track, and provide in-flight updates.

Program Status

The BPI Phase I was completed in fourth quarter FY95. The joint U.S. Air Force/U.S. Navy concept of operations (CONOPs) showed that a kinetic energy (KE) BPI system using existing missile and kill vehicle technology was operationally and technically feasible. The Pilot-in-the-Loop simulations demonstrated that BPI timelines are no more stressing than current air-to-air engagements.

FY95 Accomplishments

The results of Phase I were presented to the BPI study group that was convened by the Under Secretary of Defense (AT) to assess the alternative BPI concepts. The effectiveness, costs, and schedules were examined for systems employing the fighter based KE BPI, a UAV-based KE BPI, an airborne laser, and a space based laser. The results of the BPI assessment were subsequently merged into the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Program Review conducted during the first quarter of FY96. The BMD Program Review concluded that while the fighter-based KE BPI concept was technically feasible, it was not affordable in the current budget environment. Based on this finding, the KE BPI ACTD did not proceed into Phase II; however, KE BPI technology development geared to the UAV-based concept is continuing at a very low level of funding.

Figure 2-3

Figure 2-3: BPI Architecture

Program Management

The effort has been completed. The BPI CONOPS final report has been delivered to the Ballistic Missile Defense Office (BMDO). No further activities are planned.

BPI points of contact are listed below.

AT StaffService/Agency POCUser Sponsors
Mr. Tom Perdue
(703) 695-8045
Col Tom Fitzgerald
(310) 363-8708
Col Patrick Garvey
(804) 726-8876/7

CAPT J. Flaherty
(703) 695-4756

Master Plan Table of Contents