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Boost-Phase Intercept (BPI)

Ballistic missiles, regardless of their range, are best targeted and countered during their boost-phase. The ability to intercept a missile while boosting provides a deterrent to launch or, in the event of a launch, will destroy a target while still over enemy territory potentially allowing the debris to fall back on the aggressor. BMDO and the Air Force, supported by the Army and Navy, conducted a program in the mid-1990s for a kinetic energy boost-phase interceptor program to demonstrate the concept.

The development of the advanced kill vehicle in the BMDO Atmospheric Interceptor Technology (AIT) program was critical to the BPI program. The AIT program had its roots in the successful HEDI program which demonstrated the principle of hypersonic target acquisition and tracking in the atmosphere. Leveraging off past investments in cooled window technology, lightweight thermally protected structures, strapdown seekers, miniaturized electronics, and lightweight gel propellant divert and attitude control systems provide a lightweight kill vehicle with the capability of performing hypersonic, hit-to-kill intercepts of ballistic missile targets in the endoatmosphere. Combining this kill vehicle with the ASAS rocket motor technology from the LEAP program could permit the high velocity flight at low altitudes necessary for the BPI system.

By 2000 the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)- Boost Phase Intercept (BPI) project was a continuation of two tasks: Task 1 Israeli Boost Phase Intercept System (IBIS) Risk Mitigation and Boost Phase Launcher Intercept (BPLI) concept development; and Task 2 cooperative UAV-based BPI and BPLI Concepts. Task 1 was a cooperative U.S./Government of Israel (GOI) BPI program which involves further refinement (risk mitigation) of the UAV-based BPI concept which destroys tactical ballistic missiles in the boost phase of flight and an evaluation of a BPLI concept which destroys the Transporter-Erector Launcher (TEL) shortly after launch.

Task 1 efforts were performed in Israel and focus on risk reduction on key elements of the Israeli Boost Phase Intercept System (IBIS) concept and concept development and evaluation of a BPLI system. Task 2 of this cooperative effort was performed in the U.S. and supported and expanded key elements of both concepts. It included developing the UAV-based BPI and BPLI system requirements for scenarios of operation and employment in support of U.S. expeditionary forces. The requirements addressed development of search and track sensors, Battle Management, Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (BMC4I) and a Concept of Operations (CONOPS) based on readily available U.S. technologies. Task 2 leveraged Service capabilities by addressing issues outlined in the BMDO Technology Master Plan (TMP).

The BPI and BPLI concept defined a means of destroying hostile ballistic missiles over enemy territory. UAVs armed with interceptors show significant near term promise. Previous cooperative investigations of the UAV-based BPI concept and the recent Air Force Airborne Laser (ABL) Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) study (May 97) concluded that such a BPI system could be cost effective and complementary to terminal missile defense systems. By 2000 studies were evaluating the effectiveness of the BPLI concept to determine its cost effectiveness in complementing BPI and terminal defenses.

The BPI program was also a risk mitigation effort for the ABL program and could provide complementary support to ABL. The program used cooperative activities in the U.S. and Israel to mitigate risk of developing UAV-based BPI systems. The GOI was lead on the BPLI concept and the lead on the risk mitigation of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platform and interceptor while the U.S. was lead on the Infrared Search and Track (IRST) activities. The Battle Management and Control (BMC) and system engineering and integration responsibilities were shared. The U.S. and GOI shared costs on a 75/25 percent ratio for Task 1, Task 2 was accomplished by BMDO/Service Integrated Product Teams (IPT) and Industry.

The primary mission of the air-launched kinetic energy boost-phase interceptor (BPI) is the neutralization of theater ballistic missiles while they are still thrusting and have yet to deploy submunitions or decoys. Development of BPI, a joint Air Force and Navy program, was under the direction of the SMC. A demonstration of the BPI system was to be conducted near the end of the 1990s. This joint-service (Air Force, Navy, Army, BMDO) effort, sponsored and implemented by the operational user and material development communities, was intended to demonstrate the technology and integrated systems necessary to support the deployment of an air-launched, hit-to-kill missile system by the end of fiscal year 1999. The Air Force was the lead service and had the acquisition responsibility.

The Applied Physics Laboratory has engaged in several diverse projects for the US Air Force. The Laboratory was an adviser to the government for all aspects of the test program, including test planning, instrumentation, test execution, programmatics, and schedule issues.

The essential elements planned for the first BPI test was to demonstrate all of the key technologies of the interceptor missile and the element interfaces required to destroy a thrusting theater ballistic missile and will be of a scale sufficient to establish operational utility. One goal of the demonstration is that the resulting BPI system will retain a military capability and will be producible and deployable to a limited extent.

The interceptor missile was to be launched from an F-15C. The intercept is observed by the Cobra Ball, a second observer aircraft, and an F-14 aircraft. Command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) will be conducted by the Cobra Ball, and in-flight target updates will be supplied to the interceptor every 3 s during flight.

The F-14 Weapons System Support Activity (WSSA) is part on an Integrated Product Team (IPT) of highly skilled workers led by Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) PMA-241 and provides cradle-to-grave F-14 weapon system support. The Boost Phase Intercept Project determined the feasibility of having the F-14 acquire, track, and shoot at a ballistic missile during its boost phase. This Project was funded by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO).

On June 16, 2006 Boeing Co., Wichita, Kan., was awarded a $150,000,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price and cost reimbursable contract. This contract provides for supplies and services to be procured for new weapons integration established by the Air Force Program Management Directive 2220 98 PE 11113F for B-52 Program Support Management Plan. With an estimated total contract value of $150,000,000, the Smart Weapons Integration Next Generation contract will cover a 12-year period, with an initial requirement of $1,582,300. It will consist of a development demonstration contract that will modify the aircraft's weapon delivery software. Aircraft modifications will be required to integrate each new weapon onto the B-52. The planned initial requirement will complete the integration of the Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD). Subsequent contract modifications will support Air Force initiatives for spiral development of other weapons in the class, such as Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range and MALD Jammer. An undefined number of additional contract modifications will support totally new weapons, such as Small Diameter Bomb and Boost Phase Interceptor). At this time, $1,582,300 has been obligated. This work will be complete December 2020. Headquarters Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity. (FA8107-06-C-0001)

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Page last modified: 21-07-2011 13:04:09 ZULU