SBX to pass along coast of South Whidbey this afternoon

South Whidbey residents will get a chance to see the SBX — the $1 billion, 280-foot-tall self-propelled mobile platform designed to detect incoming ballistic missiles — as it passes by Whidbey Island this afternoon.

Officially called the Sea-Based X-Band Radar, the Missile Defense Agency is sending the platform to Vigor Shipyards (formerly called Todd Pacific Shipyards) in Seattle for maintenance on its propulsion systems.

The SBX is based in Adak, Alaska, and the work on the platform — which resembles a giant golf ball atop atop an oil-drilling rig, expected to cost about $9.4 million.The SBX was sighted in the waters off Sequim shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday.

It was estimated the platform was traveling at 8 knots, and should enter Admiralty Inlet at approximately 3 p.m.


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