Thursday, December 21, 2006

Missile Radar Still Adrift

SBX-Missile Defense Out to Sea?
The photograph at left is the most iconic image we have of a pretty photogenic piece of equipment. Late afternoon at Pearl Harbor, the American flag flutters over the Arizona Memorial. And in the background, as if we need any more of a stark reminder, looms the future of the defense apparatus of the United States.
The parts of the SBX-1 are as impressive as they look: nearly 28 stories tall it sits on two pontoons each the size of a Trident submarine and can chug along at 12 miles an hour on the open sea. It is that vessel that will be deployed in the Bering Sea so that it can pick up a missile launched from North Korea and activate the defense system that will shoot it out of the sky.
But as we kept finding in our reporting, the great parts of the SBX-- the incredible x-band radar, the sturdy North Sea oil platform on which it sits, and the good men and women of the Missile Defense Agency—might not add up to the perfect whole.  more

No comments: