Sea-Based X-Band Radar
Sea-Based X-Band Radar

Raytheon and US Missile Defense Agency Upgrade Sea-Based X-Band Radar to Reduce Energy Use

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, partnered with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to replace the Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX)’s cooling system with redesigned, environment-friendly materials. The legacy system upgrade significantly decreases energy loads and greenhouse gas emissions while improving reliability. The new design uses energy-efficient equipment to reduce the radar’s annual power consumption by an estimated 4,346,000 kilowatt-hours. By decreasing the system’s reliance on diesel engines, the result is an annual reduction of an estimated 17,786 tons in carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.

The Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX-1) is a floating, self-propelled, mobile active electronically scanned array early-warning radar station designed to operate in high winds and heavy seas. It was developed as part of the United States Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) Ballistic Missile Defense System. The radar is mounted on a fifth generation CS-50 twin-hulled semi-submersible oil platform. Conversion of the vessel was carried out at the AmFELS yard in Brownsville, Texas; the radar mount was built and mounted on the vessel at the Kiewit yard in Ingleside, Texas.

Sea-Based X-Band Radar
Crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard cutter Assateague conduct a security zone for the Sea-based X-band Radar (SBX) as it enters Pearl Harbor.(Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael De Nyse/U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters)

“SBX is one of the most powerful missile defense radars deployed today,” said Kevin Ryan, executive director, Strategic Sensor Systems at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “We were able to decarbonize and reduce environmental impact of the system without sacrificing performance.” The new design’s better reliability is a result of increasing redundancy by 150 percent. The radar’s operational availability and readiness have also increased by minimizing system failures. MDA recognized this approach as an impactful environmental program during its 18th annual awards ceremony.

Raytheon Missiles & Defense’s nine-story-high SBX is the largest, phased array, electro-mechanically steered X-band radar in the world. It currently provides full-fire control sensor functions for the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system, including search, acquisition, tracking, discrimination and kill assessment. Raytheon Technologies’ missile defense portfolio combines sensors, effectors, C2 and integration work to deliver the most advanced missile defense capabilities available to the U.S. and its allies today.

Sea-Based X-Band Radar
The Sea-based, X-band Radar (SBX 1) transits the waters of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Barker/Released)

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