The Boeing-led [NYSE: BA] Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX) industry team and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) officially dedicated the SBX radar, a key component of Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program.
"The Sea-Based X-Band Radar represents a critical step in the continuing development of not only the ground-based midcourse defense, but the other elements of the overall ballistic missile defense system as well, adding increased capability across the board for a layered defense against ballistic missiles of all ranges, during any phase of their flight," said Boeing Vice President and General Manager Pat Shanahan. "The addition of such a revolutionary radar capability will also provide increased flexibility for realistic testing in different flight test scenarios."
A number of representatives from industry and government attended the dedication of the SBX at Kiewit Offshore Services in Corpus Christi, Texas.
SBX consists of a highly advanced X-band radar system mounted on a sea-going platform. It will be able to track, discriminate and assess a variety of ballistic missile threats. SBX passes data to elements of the ballistic missile defense system to facilitate the interception of missiles by ground and/or sea-based interceptors. The radar will continue to relay updated targeting information after an interceptor launches its kill vehicle toward the incoming target. Initially, the radar will be used to support both operations and testing of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, which is specifically designed to provide a defense of our homeland against a limited long-range ballistic missile attack.
SBX's floating platform, a modified oil-drilling vessel, measures 240 feet wide and 390 feet long. It includes a power plant, bridge and control rooms, living quarters, storage areas and the infrastructure necessary to support the massive X-band radar. The X-band radar, sitting on top of the vessel, is the largest, most sophisticated phased array, electro-mechanically steered X-band radar in the world, consisting of thousands of antennae driven by transmit/receive modules.
Over the next several months, the SBX will undergo a wide range of sea trials and exercises before cruising to its homeport of Adak, Alaska, in the Aleutian Islands. It will be capable of moving throughout the Pacific Ocean to support missile defense advanced testing and defensive operations.
As prime contractor for the GMD program, Boeing is responsible for the development and integration of the GMD system components, including the SBX; ground-based interceptor; battle management, command, control and communication systems; early warning radars; and interfaces to the defense support program early warning satellite system. Raytheon built the SBX radar.