A combination of boost-phase intercept (BPI) and ascent-phase intercept (API) of theater ballistic missiles has significant operational merits. Although current defense plans do not anticipate using manned aircraft with onboard sensors in this role, the uncertainties associated with other API/BPI concepts suggest that this approach may be revisited. The authors describe the factors bearing on airborne interceptor development and examine three nominal paths to achieving it. Operational considerations deserving some attention in considering these paths are also discussed, including several potential synergies between API/BPI and ground-attack operations.
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