SBX Radar Completes Integration Onto its Floating Platform


Released on Monday, April 4, 2005
United States of America
SBX
GMD - Ground based Mid-course Defense
MDA - Missile Defense Agency
SBX - Sea-Based X-Band Radar
A Boeing-led industry team has completed the Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX) integration work onto its sea-going platform in Corpus Christi, Texas. This announcement marks an important milestone for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program.

The massive SBX consists of a radar antenna and a floating platform which is a modified oil-drilling vessel. This radar, sitting on top of the vessel, is a key component of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) GMD system which will protect the United States of America and allied nations against ballistic missile attacks.

The SBX will provide targeting information in support of ground-based interceptors as well as other GMD components. The targeting information is transmitted before the interceptor has been launched and after the launch helping the interceptor and its kill vehicle to achieve a direct hit on the incoming missile.

The oil-drilling vessel utilized for the SBX program measures 240 feet wide (73 meters) and 390 feet long (119 meters). The vessel includes power plant, bridge, control rooms, living quarters, storage areas and the infrastructure necessary to support the massive X-band radar. Boeing claims that the SBX radar is the most sophisticated phased array, electro-mechanically steered X-band radar in the world. The phased array antenna consists of thousands of antennas driven by transmit/receive modules.

The radar antenna integration was done using a heavy lift crane capable of lifting 12,500 tons. Originally, that crane was built for loading massive structures onto production structures in the petroleum industry. The floating platform moved out from AMFELS shipyard in Brownsville, Texas, to Kiewit yard in Corpus Christi. The oil-drilling vessel was modified to accept the radar drive platform and the control system with the array antenna and the associated electronics. The crane lifted the radar antenna set and the floating platform was positioned below and finally the crane lowered the load installing the radar set onto the floating platform.

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