‘Golf ball’ radar’s limitations seen

October 24, 2017

Honolulu Star Advertiser:

The Sea-Based X-Band Radar, a key link in the nation’s defense against North Korea, spent eight months at sea before returning to its home in Pearl Harbor last month.

But the powerful $2.2 billion discriminating radar can’t be used operationally anywhere near Hawaii, and its return here for “routine maintenance” highlights a major shortcoming of the system: its ship-based design. The need to return to port creates gaps in its ability to track North Korean warheads at a time when such a threat is becoming ever more real.

The Missile Defense Agency said in its fiscal 2018 budget overview that it requested funding “to extend on-station time from 120 days at sea to 330 days to expand contingency operations for defense of the homeland.”

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International Cooperation