Located at the westernmost area of the United States, Kauai is home to several unique military bases related to naval operations and missile defense.
Kauai Military Bases
The Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) at Barking Sands is located on the western shores of Kauai. It is the world’s largest multi-dimensional testing and training missile range. PMRF is the only range in the world where submarines, surface ships, aircraft, missiles and space vehicles can be operated together. The base is approximately 2,385 acres. Offshore there are more than 42,000 square miles of controlled airspace.
PMRF has support facilities at Port Allen, Makaha Ridge, and Koke’e State Park. The base also has a remotely operated surveillance radar on the nearby island of Niihau.
The Pacific Missile Range Facility is an important testing ground for missile defense. Guided test missiles are launched from the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex at the facility out over the Pacific Ocean to test anti-missile intercept systems on U.S. Navy ships (photos below).
The base has family housing located near the beach, a Navy Exchange, a barber shop and a gas station. Recreational facilities include a tennis court, racquetball court, softball field, soccer field, golf-driving range and swimming pool. Movies are shown on weekends at an outdoor theater. Shenanigans restaurant is open in the evenings.
The nearest town to the base is Kekaha, about 8 miles to the southeast. Polihale Beach extends onto the base, but this part of the beach is off limits to the public. Major’s Bay is a beach located on the base, with beach cottages available for rent to military personnel (photos below).
Hawaii Air National Guard
The Hawaii Air National Guard radar site at Kokee State Park near the Kalalau Lookout is a prominent area landmark. Some people say it looks like a giant golf ball sitting on a tee. The white dome (radome) can be seen from the Na Pali Coastline, giving a visual cue to the location of the Kalalau Lookout as seen from sea level. The radome protects the radar inside from the area’s heavy rainfall. The radar provides surveillance for the Hawaii region and is operated by the 150th Air Control and Warning Flight unit of the 154th Wing of the Hawaii Air National Guard.
U.S. Coast Guard
The U.S. Coast Guard has a presence on Kauai, providing search and rescue, coastal patrols and vessel safety checks.
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