U.S. Military eyes three locations for new missile detecting radar
The U.S. Military is considering Kuaokala Ridge near the U.S. Air Force Kaena Point Satellite Tracking Station or one of two sites at the U.S. Army's Kahuku Training area for its new Homeland Defense Radar.
The U.S. Military is considering Kuaokala Ridge near the U.S. Air Force Kaena Point Satellite Tracking Station or one of two sites at the U.S. Army's Kahuku Training area for its new Homeland Defense Radar - sensory radar designed to detect and classify radars.
Island News asked Rear Admiral Jon Hill, the deputy director of the Missile Defense Agency, to rate the proposed radar on a scale of "least powerful to most." His response: "This is right on the upper edge of being probably the most powerful, most awesome radar on the planet."
The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act requires the Missile Defense Agency to develop a plan to "procure and field" a ballistic missile defense radar for the defense of Hawaii. An environmental impact survey for the sites started earlier this year. Hill says the shape and design of the proposed radar are not yet finalized.
Members of the public who attended Tuesday night's meeting at Sunset Beach Elementary School and Wednesday's at Keehi Lagoon Memorial park asked a lot of questions, but for many safety was a priority.
"I believe nothing's going to happen but who knows," said Waikiki resident, Valencia Vepper who attended Wednesday night's meeting.
Right now, there is the Sea-based X-band radar -- or SBX -- the golf ball-looking tracking system floating near Pearl Harbor. Hill says that won't go away even after the new radar is complete.
After the public input meetings, the military will look to nail down a contractor. Groundbreaking could happen as early as 2021. The radar could be fully operational by 2023.