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LIHU‘E — Construction has begun at the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands near Kekaha on an Advanced Radar Detection Laboratory facility, according to a news release.
The ARDEL project will test and evaluate a new radar system planned for the next generation of surface combatant vessels, designed to strengthen the Navy’s ability to detect, track, and provide information required to engage ballistic missiles at greater distances than current systems in use, as well as more elusive long-range air threats, the release states.
The advanced technologies of the new radar incorporate various aspects of ballistic missile defense, air defense and surface warfare.
According to the Department of the Navy’s environmental assessment of the project, the purpose of the ARDEL facility is to test advanced radar technologies including the Air and Missile Defense Radar.
According to AMDR Major Program Manager Capt. Larry Creevy, AMDR is a next-generation radar system designed to address the BMD, AD, and SuW capability gaps identified in the Maritime Air and Missile Defense of Joint Forces Initial Capabilities Document.
AMDR is envisioned to counter current and emergent ballistic missile, air-to-surface and surface-to-surface missile threats.
“This advanced radar project will not only further the Navy’s ability to protect and serve our nation and our allies, but also strengthen PMRF’s status as a diverse and important training and test and evaluation resource for our country,” said Capt. Aaron Cudnohufsky, PMRF commanding officer.
The Department of the Navy chose PMRF for the new ARDEL facility due to Barking Sands’ ability to provide integrated range services in a modern, multi-threat, multi-dimensional environment, from space to the ocean floor, that ensures the safe conduct and evaluation of training and test and evaluation missions.
PMRF was the only potential build location that met the required test and evaluation criteria that could completely support the proposed development of a land-based testing site while providing targets that are representative of the threats Navy vessels may encounter in their operational environment, the release states.
Test and evaluation of the new radar technologies would include the use of targets of opportunity on the PMRF range.
“PMRF has been working closely with the ARDEL project for some time, and breaking ground on the construction of this facility will put us a step closer to actually realizing a new capability here,” said Cudnohufsky.
The two-story ARDEL facility will consist of a radar tower, mechanical and electrical rooms, radar chiller room, control rooms, equipment storage and loading areas, data processing room and other supporting spaces.
The facility will be built with a silver designation of the Navy’s Leadership Energy and Environmental Design building standards.
Developed in the 1990s by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is a certification system for environmentally friendly construction, indicating the project meets or exceeds government mandates as well as industry standards.
Buildings can achieve certified, silver, gold or platinum designation of LEED compliance. The Navy requires all construction and major renovation projects to be compliant to LEED silver standards or better, the release states.
The traditional image of a radar antenna is the rotating, parabolic antenna as seen on top of airport control towers and aircraft carriers.
In contrast, the two radars of the ARDEL facility are similar to the radars of the Theater High Altitude Area Defense radar system, currently operating at PMRF, and to the AEGIS system in use on Navy vessels.
“This facility will be the birthplace for the most advanced radar the world has ever seen in the most capable Navy the world has ever seen. It will fulfill missile-defense requirements recently identified by President Obama,” said Creevy.
The ARDEL facility will have six permanent staff that could be augmented to the projected peak number of 40 persons during radar testing.
The facility would be manned 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year.
Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific awarded the $18.5 million contract to Tomco Corp. of Honolulu for design and construction of the ARDEL facility. The facility is expected to be completed by August 2011.
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