12 June 2017

News Story: MDA - Even without sea-based radar, we still can detect missiles in the Pacific

Sea-Based X-Band (SBX) Radar
By: Jen Judson

WASHINGTON — When the Sea-Based X-Band radar is dry docked for an overhaul in roughly the 2020 time frame, it won’t affect the U.S. capability to detect any missile threats in the Pacific, according to the Missile Defense Agency.

During a House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing Wednesday, lawmakers raised concern that the SBX radar would be out of commission before the Missile Defense Agency is able to field a new medium-range radar for missile threat detection in Hawaii.

The MDA, in its fiscal year 2018 budget request, is asking for $21 million to begin a competition for a homeland defense radar to be positioned in Hawaii. MDA plans to compete and award a Pacific radar contract in FY18 and deliver an initial capability by FY23, according to budget documents.

While the SBX — the world's largest phased-array X-band radar on top of a mobile, ocean-faring, semi-submersible oil platform — will see longer days at sea in FY18, the expectation is it will need to be dry-docked for a major overhaul in roughly 2020. The MDA has requested $130.7 million for which part of the funds will cover extending its on-station time from 120 to 330 days at sea at the request of U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Pacific Command in defense of the homeland. 

There’s also a concern the Hawaii radar might not reach IOC by 2023 because a site for the radar has yet to be selected and would have to undergo an environmental impact study, which historically has a tendency to take longer than predicted and delay military construction schedules. 

Read the full story at DefenseNews