JLENs aerostat completes naval attack test

An aerostat system built by Raytheon that uses sensors and radar to detect incoming threats from air, land and sea recently completed a real-world test in which it was able to track a swarm of boats representing an attack by hostile naval forces, the company said Sept. 10.

In a series of tests held in June, the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, or JLENS, was able to simultaneously detect and track multiple speedboats traveling at low and high speeds on the Great Salt Lake, the company said. The tests showed the technology would be useful in helping U.S. naval forces protect strategic waterways.

JLENs, which comprises two tethered, 74-meter aerostats connected to mobile mooring stations and a communications and processing group, offers persistent over-the-horizon surveillance.

The system is designed to defend against a wide variety of threats, including hostile cruise missiles, low-flying manned and unmanned aircraft, and surface vehicles, such as boats, SCUD-launchers, automobiles, trucks and tanks. JLENS also is capable of detecting tactical ballistic missiles and large caliber rockets during their ascent. 

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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