Sea-Based X-Band Radar Radome


The Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX) is an important component of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD). The SBX is a mechanically steerable, phased-array radar antenna mounted on a self-propelled, ocean-going, semi-submersible platform. The radar is housed within an inflated radome designed to protect it from harsh sea conditions and cyclones. SGH worked with Raytheon and ILC Dover to design the radome.

The air-inflated, fabric radome is 120 ft in diameter with a spherical top half and prolate bottom half. The radome fabric is made of vectran fibers manufactured by ILC Dover. Working with subconsultants Oceanweather Inc. and CPP Inc., SGH completed following:

  • Established design wind conditions and performed wind tunnel tests
  • Characterized the fabric’s nonlinear material properties based on uniaxial and biaxial testing, and determined effects of handling damages and UV exposure on fabric strength
  • Conducted testing to determined creep rupture characteristics of the fabric under sustained loading due to internal pressure combined with wind loading
  • Performed nonlinear finite element analysis of the fabric radome, considering nonlinear material properties and large deflections along with the effects of wind-induced rippling resulting from low shear strength of the fabric
  • Incorporated our analysis and testing results into a reliability model, accounting for variabilities in wind loading and material resistance (e.g., degradation, handling damages, stress biaxiality, and sustained loading effects)

Project Summary

New Construction
Advanced Analysis | Applied Science & Research
Science & Defense
Raytheon Company
Specialized Capabilities
Science & Defense | Computational Mechanics | Physical Testing | Environmental Simulations

Key team members

Frank Kan
Frank Kan
Mehdi Zarghamee
Mehdi Zarghamee
Senior Principal