Unusual looking missile defense radar vessel passes up Strait of Juan de Fuca today, Tuesday
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U.S. Navy
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency's X-band Radar vessel as it pulls into Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The vessel passes through the Strait of Juan de Fuca today and early Tuesday.

PDN news sources

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency's Sea-Based X-Band, or SBX, radar vessel is entering the Strait of Juan de Fuca late today and will move past Port Angeles, Sequim and Port Townsend into Admiralty Inlet and Puget Sound on Tuesday, according to the agency.

“The first view of the SBX for some residents in the Pacific Northwest will likely be when the vessel is just off shore before entering the Strait of Juan de Fuca tonight,” the agency said in a statement today.

“It should be visible from Port Angeles on Tuesday morning. The vessel can be seen from various points as it makes its way through Puget Sound to Elliott Bay and to Vigor Shipyards Seattle, arriving late Tuesday night.”

Boeing won a $27.1 million contract to perform maintenance and upgrades on the huge system. The work is set to take about three months at Seattle's Vigor Shipyards — the former Todd Pacific Shipyards.

People are not allowed within 100 yards of SBX while it is in navigable U.S. waters and moored at Vigor Shipyards at Seattle's Harbor Island.

SBX is a floating, self-propelled, mobile radar station designed to operate in high winds and heavy seas. It is part of the Defense Department's Ballistic Missile Defense System.

The radar system is mounted on a fifth-generation Norwegian-designed, Russian-built CS-50 semi-submersible twin-hulled oil-drilling platform. The radar mount was built and mounted on the platform at the Kiewit yard in Ingleside, Texas, near Corpus Christi.

It is supposed to be based at Adak, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, although it's never been there, according to the Defense Department.

Instead, it roams over the Pacific Ocean to detect incoming ballistic missiles.

However, the Missile Defense Agency said the radar will not be operating while the giant apparatus is in port.

Last modified: May 09. 2011 2:39PM
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