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)