Raytheon JLENS Defense System Features Aerostats


A JLENS aerostat at White Sands Missile Range near Orogrande Range Camp.

US Defense contractor Raytheon recently successfully tested the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) over the Great Salt Lake in Utah. The test involved the radar’s ability to track multiple fast and high-speed vessels, potentially giving ship commanders situational awareness of all threats that he or she might face.


The JLENS system is made up of two aerostats that float 10,000 feet  (3,050 meters) high, providing radar and communication capabilities to see over-the-horizon threats, which puts them within range of new weapons systems. The US Army worked with Raytheon to develop JLENS in order to track and defeat aircraft as well as cruise missiles. Previously, swarm boats had not been tested as part of the program.

Raytheon tested the JLENS’ ability to target swarm boats in the Great Salt Lake. It tested the radar’s ability to track multiple fast and high speed vessels to potentially give a ship commander situational awareness of all threats he might face.

JLENS has faced a number of different challenges in its development, especially after the prices for it spiraled. Apparently now Mark Rose, Raytheon’s JLENS program director, reports that the program is back on track and that costs have been brought under control.

The development of the program continues as Raytheon expects to complete an operational test with a major command in 2012.

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