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This study is a historical analysis of battlefield air interdiction during the 1973 Middle East War. Its purpose is to draw conclusions, based on the historical findings, about the best way to employ BAI in the air land battle. Although the conclusions come from a Middle East War over ten years ago, they are examined in terms of the NATO environment.

The tactical and technological developments of both Arab and Israeli air forces during the years 1967-1973 are examined in order to explain how both sides arrived at the doctrine they employed in the 1973 War. The Arabs established an intensive air defense network to deny the Israelis their strongest and most flexible weapons system. The Israelis believed that their Air Force would destroy Arab ground forces as it did in 1967. The confrontation of both doctrines had significant implications for the ground forces particularly the relative value assigned close air support and battlefield air interdiction.

The study concludes that close air support is not the best use of air assets in a high density air defense environment. Battlefield air interdiction is more effective to the operational ground commander. Localized control of air defense systems is needed to allow the use of air to ground assets. The final conclusion is that suppression of enemy air defense systems is a joint service responsibility.

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