Electronic Weapons: September 14, 2003


Instead of building a long range ICBM tracking radar in Alaska, to support twenty ABMs (anti-ballistic missiles) that will be based in the area, the U.S. is going to mount the 50,000 ton X-Band radar on a mobile oil rig. The radar is 390 feet long and 250 feet high. By putting the radar on a sea going rig, it can be moved to face new threats. Right now, the most likely user of ICBMs against the U.S. is North Korea. So the radar will be mounted on the oil rig and towed to a location near Adak, Alaska. There was a naval base at Adak until 1996, when it was closed. The base is still there, and is being reopened to support the radar rig off shore. The radar rig has a crew of 50, with another 30-40 support personnel ashore. The radar is extremely powerful, so much so that the electronic signal it generates can interfere with nearby civilian electronics (medical devices, aircraft instruments, media transmitters and so on.) Military electronic equipment used near the radar is built to keep the transmissions from interfering, but this is very expensive.


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