Floating White Dome at Pearl Harbor Protects Nation

Colonel John Fellows
Colonel John Fellows

PEARL HARBOR (KHNL) - The largest and most sophisticated mobile radar system in the world is back in Hawaii for a port call.

This giant white radar dome is hard to miss. And for the first time we get to see what's inside the protective fabric. What looks like a mosaic is such a powerful radar system. It can detect ballstic missiles and determine whether they are real or fake. Operators have been working out the bugs over the past year.

SBX Project Manager Colonel John Fellows says "We went on a 34-hundred nautical mile voyage, a winter shakedown to test out the system."

They took a test run to it's homeport of Adak, Alaska.

"In particular to the Aleutian Islands to the Bering sea. We encountered very harsh weather elements and we were able to validate design perimeters, operate in seas of 50-60 foot waves and 70 miles per hour winds," explains Fellows.

And when North Korea conducted missile tests last July;

"If they were to have launched threat missiles in our direction first of all the system was available to defend our nation and we were available to collect critical data," adds Fellows.

The radar dome rests on an oil drilling platform. Reporter Beth Hillyer learned, "There are about 85 crewmembers and contractors who live aboard this sea-based platform. Here at Pearl Harbor this vessel is getting some comforts of home, modifications to the kitchen and onboard gymnasium."

Workers at Pearl Harbor will perform about 27-million dollars in modifications to the radar system over the summer.