$2 billion floating missile defense radar back in Hawaii

HONOLULU — A large missile defense radar mounted on a modified floating oil platform has returned to Hawaii.

The $2 billion Sea-Based X-Band Radar was back at Pearl Harbor for regular maintenance and installation of system upgrades, Missile Defense Agency spokeswoman Maria Njoku told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser .

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Shore personnel will conduct inspections and surveys, and crew members will receive training, she said.

The Missile Defense Agency plans to keep the radar, which resembles a giant golf ball, at sea for more than 300 days in the next fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 to “address the continued missile test activity in North Korea.”

The agency plans to have the radar spend 330 days at sea each year between 2021 and 2024.

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The military also plans to build a series of land-based sensors that will also track ballistic missiles. These include the $1 billion Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii, which is expected to be operational in 2023.

“With the addition of the long-range discriminating radar in Alaska, the homeland defense radar in Hawaii and the future Pacific radar, we will have in place a diverse sensor architecture in the Pacific to provide an improved and persistent” missile-tracking capability, former Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves testified in April.

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