Floating platform tracks incoming missiles

AMFELS, a member of Singapore-based Keppel Offshore & Marine, has clinched a $73 million contract from Boeing to outfit a semi-submersible platform being developed for US military use.

The modified oil-drilling platform is being built to support the US Government’s Sea-Based Test X-Band Radar (SBX) – part of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the United States’ Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) – which will track, discriminate, and assess ‘incoming’ target missiles.

When complete, the SBX will consist of a large X-Band radar mounted on a modified semi-submersible platform. The platform itself will be approximately 390 feet long, with a 238-foot beam, and an operations draft of approximately 75 feet. The height from water surface to the top of the radar dome will be 250 feet and the deck area will be approximately 270 x 230 feet.

Boeing is the primary contractor for the $747 million platform system and Raytheon is building the globe-shaped radar, which will be incorporated with the platform in Corpus Christi in 2005.

The initial sea trials of the vessel will take place in the Gulf of Mexico to test its maneuverability. In addition, the sea trials may include full power operation for satellite and calibration device tracking. Following the sea trials, the completed platform will move from the Gulf of Mexico to its base at Adak, Alaska.

For it’s part, AMFELS will outfit the bare hull of the platform, construct and assemble the living quarters, and perform electrical, networking and mechanical work and the commissioning of the vessel.

Continuous communications between the platform and shore will be provided via a commercial C-band satellite, using a redundant dual-antenna system designed and furnished by Harris Corporation’s Maritime Communication Services (MCS) subsidiary. In September, Harris was awarded a $7.7 million contract by Boeing to provide systems engineering, integration services, and satellite communications equipment for the SBX program.