JLENS tracks swarming boats in test

During a recent test, a Raytheon JLENS (Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensors) aerostat system simultaneously detected and tracked double-digit swarming boats, hundreds of cars and trucks, non-swarming boats, and manned and unmanned aircraft, according to a Raytheon press release.

The swarming boats, similar to swarming boats in the inventories of hostile navies in high-threat regions of the globe, simulated a real-world scenario with a series of tactical maneuvers at low and high speeds. The aircraft and other vehicles JLENS tracked were similar to the other kinds of systems that might operate in the vicinity of busy, vital waterways.

"This test proved JLENS can help keep important chokepoints free from the growing threat of swarming boats by detecting them from hundreds of miles away in a congested environment, enabling commanders to take appropriate action," said David Gulla, vice president of Global Integrated Sensors for Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems business, in the press release.

Added Dean Barten, the U.S. Army's JLENS program manager, in the Raytheon press release, "JLENS' 360-degree long-range surveillance capability expands the battlespace because JLENS can simultaneously detect and engage threats like swarming boats and anti-ship cruise missiles from up to 340 miles away."

A JLENS system, referred to as an orbit, consists of two tethered, 74-meter aerostats connected to mobile mooring stations and a communications and processing group. One aerostat carries surveillance radar with 360-degree surveillance capability; the other aerostat carries a fire control radar. The surveillance radar can simultaneously track hundreds of threats, while the fire control radar can simultaneously target dozens of threats.

The aerostats fly as high as 10,000 feet and can remain aloft and operational for up to 30 days.

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