April 6, 2005

Missile defense gets a lift at Kiewit Offshore

Massive XBR radar is lifted onto former offshore rig

Two Texas shipyards have been playing a key role in support of the Missile Defense Agency's Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).

A major milestone in the BMDS program has just been completed at the Kiewit Offshore Services yard near Corpus Christi with the lifting of Raytheon's XBR radar and its placement aboard its host sea-based platform, the SBX-1.

SBX-1 is based on a Moss 5 semisubmersible platform, prepared at the Keppel Amfels yard in Brownsville under a contract from Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.

The XBR is intended to track ballistic missiles and, says Raytheon, "will help identify the hostile warhead from the decoys and countermeasures, providing additional capability for interceptor missiles to protect the U.S."

Aboard the relocatable SBX-1, says Raytheon, the XBR can be positioned in the ocean to support both testing and actual defensive operations.

The XBR was built over a period of 21 months in the Kiewit Offshore Services yard. It was placed on the SBX-1 using Kiewit's Heavy Lift Device, which is capable of lifting more than 16 million pounds.

The radar will soon complete integration into the SBX-1 system, and depart for verification testing in the Gulf of Mexico. Following testing, the vessel will set sail around Cape Horn for its primary base at Adak Island in Alaska's Aleutian Islands.

The SBX-1 measures 240 feet wide and 390 feet long. It includes a power plant, bridge and control rooms, living quarters, storage areas and the infrastructure necessary to support the massive X-band radar.

The overall SBX assembly involved moving the modified SBX platform from Keppel Amfels to the Kiewit yard in Corpus Christi for installation of the radar onto the sea-going platform.

Prior to arrival, the SBX platform was modified to accept the radar Drive Platform and Control System (DPCS) with the array antenna and electronics installed.

The Kiewit heavy lift device (HLD), lifted the SBX DPCS high enough so when the barge was moved away the SBX platform was positioned directly below the DPCS.

The HLD lifted the DPCS vertical, held the load until the sea-going platform was in position and then lowered the load onto the platform

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