Blimp-borne JLENS radar preparation completed for Army contingent operations

TEWKSBURY, Mass. Raytheon engineers completed preparation of a blimp-borne radar system -- Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) as a rapidly deployable strategic asset. JLENS was previously used for testing only.

JLENS floats at altitudes as high as 10,000 feet while suspended from two 80-yard long, helium-filled blimp-like aerostats which are then tethered to ground stations via a rugged cable. The system can defend population centers and infrastructures against a variety of incoming threats, such as missiles, manned aircraft, and unmanned aircraft.

Army officials have procured two JLENS systems so far. In addition to keeping one system in strategic reserve, a second system is expected to participate in an operational evaluation at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. later this year. JLENS completed Early User Testing last fall, and concluded system design and development at the end of 2013.

The JLENS testing program included tracking and targeting airplanes and drones, and enabling cruise missile target destruction by integrating with the Patriot Air and Missile Defense System, Standard Missile 6, and AMRAAM defensive systems. JLENS has also tracked threats such as swarming boats and detected tactical ballistic missiles in their boost-phase.