The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is now eyeing Kauai as a potential site for its planned $1.9 billion high powered ballistic missile radar.
The flat facing radar will be sited at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) at Barking Sands on Kauai’s west coast. It is expected to be 80ft-90ft tall and about 50ft wide.
The radar aims o enhance US’ missile tracking capability in the Pacific.
As mandated by Congress, there were previously three sites being studied for the radar.
Two sites that were studied are located at the US Army’s Kahuku Training Area and on Kuaokala Ridge at Kaena point.
The flat facing radar would be 80 to 90 feet tall and about 50 feet wide.
Construction of the radar is anticipated to take three to five years.
Missile Defense Agency team lead public affairs officer Heather Reed Cavaliere said in an email to Hawaii News Now: “In coordination with INDOPACOM, MDA is currently revisiting the viability of fielding the Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii on Department of Defense property at PMRF.
“In October 2019, MDA began conducting analyses and studies at PMRF locations not previously explored in the siting analysis. This effort is ongoing and MDA expects to make a site suitability determination in March-April 2020.”
The Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii is intended to reach farther out so as to identify warheads from rocket parts.
What is the Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii?
The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act requires the MDA to develop a plan to procure and field a “discrimination radar” to improve the defense of Hawaii. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army, is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate potential environmental impacts from proposed construction and operation of a Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii (HDR-H); In-Flight Interceptor Communication System Data Terminal; and associated support facilities, utilities, and infrastructure to protect the homeland against threats from nations, such as North Korea and Iran.
The proposed radar would provide enhanced capabilities for the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System to track and discriminate (i.e., identify and classify) long-range ballistic missile threats. It would optimize the defensive capability of the U.S. inventory of Ground-Based Midcourse Defense interceptors and counter evolving missile threats in the Pacific Region.