US vigil against missile threats through state-of-the-art mobile radar

(FILE) The Sea-Based X-Band (SBX) Radar is currently docked at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor for maintenance and servicing. (Photo by Alfred Acenas, Hawaii-Pacific Bureau, Eagle News Service)

By Alfred Acenas
Eagle News Service

PEARL HARBOR (Eagle News) – In response to the ongoing aggression by countries such as North Korea, which fired a record of at least 90 cruise and ballistic missiles in 2022 alone, the Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX) stands ready to identify, track and alert nearby military units to respond to incoming missile threats.

Managed by the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the SBX provides an advanced capability for regional military organizations like the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) to obtain missile tracking information while an incoming threat missile is in flight.

The sophisticated radar system then discriminates between the hostile missile warhead and any countermeasures, and provides that data to interceptor missiles so that they can successfully intercept and destroy the threat missile even before it can reach its target.

The radar hardware measures 240 feet (73 meters) wide and 390 feet (119 meters) long.  It towers more than 280 feet (85 meters) from its keel to the top of the radar dome and displaces nearly 50,000 tons when ballasted.

The vessel is based on a fifth-generation semi-submersible oil drilling platform.  It is twin-hulled, self-propelled, and stable in high winds and turbulent sea conditions.

Larger than an American football field, the main deck houses living quarters, workspaces, storage, power generation, bridge, and control rooms; while providing the space and infrastructure necessary to support the radar antenna array, command control and communications suites, and an In-flight Interceptor Communication System Data Terminal, which provides missile tracking and target discrimination data to interceptor missiles.

The SBX is normally located in a Pacific port when not required at sea and maintains vessel certifications for operations at sea, as well as software compatibility with the missile defense system.

The SBX vessel was transferred to the Military Sealift Command (MSC) on December 22, 2011.  The MSC operates and maintains the vessel, as well as coordinates logistics support and port services; while the MDA retains responsibility for the X-band radar itself.

The SBX is currently docked along Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, undergoing routine maintenance and certain upgrades.

(Eagle News Service)