PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- The Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX) arrived in Pearl Harbor Jan. 9 for planned repairs and refurbishment, after completing a 15,000-mile journey from Corpus Christi, Texas aboard the heavy lift vessel MV Blue Marlin.
The SBX will be off-loaded and proceed into the Pearl Harbor Shipyard where it will undergo minor modifications, post-transit maintenance and routine inspections before completing its voyage to its homeport of Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.
“We brought SBX to the Pearl Harbor shipyard to undergo modifications because of the outstanding quality of work that they do,” said Pam Rogers, communications specialist for the Missile Defense Agency.
The SBX is a combination of the world’s largest phased-array X-band radar carried aboard a mobile, ocean-going semi-submersible oil platform. It will provide the nation with highly advanced ballistic missile detection and will be able to discriminate a hostile warhead from decoys or countermeasures.
“SBX will be an element of the ballistic missile defense system, which will protect our nation, our service members and our allies against ballistic missile attack,” said Rogers.
The Missile Defense Agency completed integration of the SBX platform and radar in the spring of 2005 at a cost of approximately $900 million. The SBX spans 240 feet in width and 390 feet in length. It towers more than 280 feet from its keel to the top of the radar dome and displaces nearly 50,000 tons. The platform is twin-hulled, self-propelled and stable in high winds and turbulent sea conditions.
SBX returned from a successful 52-day deployment in the Gulf of Mexico Oct. 14. While in the Gulf, SBX completed more than 100 major test activities, demonstrating the ability to achieve most major sustainment and operational capabilities including transferring personnel, supplies, and fuel; at-sea maintenance; and the ability to operate at sea for extended periods. It also tracked three satellites to test the radar's operation.
“The radar is so powerful that if it were off the east coast of the United States near Washington, D.C., it would be capable of detecting the motion and rotation of a baseball launched into outer space from the San Francisco area,” according the to the Missile Defense Agency.
The SBX is scheduled to arrive in Adak later this year. Although homeported in Adak, it will be capable of moving throughout the Pacific Ocean to support both advanced missile defense testing as well as defensive operations. The radar will provide missile tracking, discrimination and hit assessment functions to the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System. It will support interceptor missiles located in Alaska and California if required to defend against a limited long-range missile attack on the United States, and will also participate in operationally realistic flight tests.
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