Report: U.S. moving Hawaii's 'golf ball' radar closer to North Korea

Published: Apr. 1, 2013 at 5:51 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 2, 2013 at 4:51 AM HST
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WASHINGTON D.C. (HawaiiNewsNow) - The U.S. Navy is moving the largest and most sophisticated mobile radar system in the world closer to North Korea, according to a CNN report.

The Missile Defense Agency's Sea-Based X-band Radar (SBX), which is usually based at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam will be used to monitor North Korea's military moves, according to CNN.

The report says the move is the first of what may be other deployments.

The SBX-1 structure towers, 28 stories high.

Navy Region Hawaii tells Hawaii News Now that the radar left Pearl Harbor on March 22.

Inside this golf ball shaped dome, visible miles away from Pearl Harbor, is the largest, most powerful phased array X-band radar in the world.

"And it's mounted on a self propelled, semi-submersible commercial oil drilling platform. It has four electric thrusters and allows it to be propelled so we can position the SBX-1 any where we need in the Pacific Ocean to take advantage of a test situation or a particular threat or operation," said Lieutenant Colonel Steve Braddom, SBX project manager with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

It's so powerful say MDA officials, that the SBX-1 can track a baseball sized object in space some 3,000 miles away.

The $1 billion piece of hardware took two years to build and costs about $150 million a year to operate. Since 2005, SBX has undergone numerous tests, development and upgrades to increase its capabilities.

The Associated Press on Monday reported that a Japan-based U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer capable of shooting down ballistic missiles had also been positioned closer to the Korean peninsula.

The Pentagon announced that the U.S. military sent two F-22 stealth fighter jets to take part in the annual U.S.-South Korean military trills.

Last week, two B-2 stealth bombers flew from the United States and dropped dummy munitions on a South Korean island as part of the drills.

Hours later, North Korea's Kim Jong Un ordered his generals to put rockets on standby, and threatened to strike American targets if provoked.

Copyright 2013 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

The Associated Press contributed to this report