The Sea-Based X-Band (SBX) Radar tracks, discriminates, and assesses the flight characteristics of ballistic missiles. The SBX provides an advanced capability to the overall Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). It greatly increases the Missile Defense Agency’s ability to conduct operational and realistic testing of its Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Element, while providing an operational capability to the Combatant Commands.
- The SBX is a unique combination of an advanced X-band radar mounted on a mobile, ocean-going, semi-submersible platform that provides the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) with an extremely powerful and capable radar that can be positioned to cover any region of the globe.
- 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.
- Its ocean-spanning mobility allows the radar to be repositioned as needed to support the various BMDS test scenarios. Operationally, it provides an advanced radar capability to obtain missile tracking information while an incoming threat missile is in flight, discriminates between the hostile missile warhead and any decoys, and provides that data to interceptor missiles so that they can successfully intercept and destroy the threat missile before it can reach its target.
- The SBX is 240 feet wide and 390 feet long. It towers more than 280 feet from its keel to the top of the radar dome and displaces nearly 50,000 tons.
- Larger than a football field, the main deck houses living quarters, workspaces, storage, power generation, bridge, and control rooms while providing the floor 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.
- Construction of the vessel and integration of the payloads were completed in two Texas shipyards and extensive sea-trials were conducted in the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean.
- The SBX can be redeployed as needed to support both testing and defensive operations for the Ballistic Missile Defense System.
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