Under the expert supervision of Petty Officer 1st Class Brent Taylor, an electronics technician aboard the Alex Haley, the replacement was conducted seamlessly and with enough time to teach junior members critical information about the radar system.
This delicate evolution required planning and precise coordination between the electronics technicians aboard the cutter. The AN/SPS-40 radar is used to detect air contacts and to track embarked MH-65 Dolphin aircraft when the cutter is deployed. Weighing in at nearly 4,700 pounds, the radar array and pedestal required precise crane manipulation to hoist and set into place at the top of the cutter's 130-foot main mast.
This evolution was scheduled maintenance for the system and had to be conducted within a narrow weather window to ensure the safest conditions.
"This project was extremely complicated, especially from a logistical stand point,” said Taylor, one of the cutter's top technicians. “We had to coordinate with two Navy service centers and two shipping companies just to get the antenna to Kodiak Island.”
During the replacement, safety was a primary concern because of the sheer size of the antenna itself. The crew also had a very small window because of tidal changes and weather. In the end, it took a tremendous team effort between the cutter’s technicians and contractors from the Navy to get the job done, but it was a huge success.
The Alex Haley is a 282-foot medium endurance cutter home-ported in Kodiak, and the crew is charged with patrolling Alaskan waters, the Arctic and north Pacific Ocean ensuring the safety and security of mariners and Alaskans. The crew’s primary missions are homeland security, search and rescue and law enforcement.