Raytheon to continue work on aerostat-based cruise missile defense system

HUNTSVILLE, Ala., 24 June 2005. U.S. Army officials are asking Raytheon Co. in Bedford, Mass., to continue work on an aerostat-mounted radar system that defends deployed forces from cruise missiles.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala., 24 June 2005. U.S. Army officials are asking Raytheon Co. in Bedford, Mass., to continue work on an aerostat-mounted radar system that defends deployed forces from cruise missiles.

Raytheon won a $79.5 million contract modification June 21 from the Army Defense Space and Missile Command in Huntsville, Ala., for the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor Systems (JLENS) with surveillance radar.

JLENS is an aerostat with radar sensors that monitors over the horizon for cruise missiles -- primarily to protect U.S. fighting forces deployed outside the United States. Work is to be finished in 2010, and the contract number is DASG60-98-C-0001.

The system extends cruise missile detection and engagement ranges with existing air defense weapons such as the Patriot missile, U.S. Navy SM-2 missile, the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).

Future plans call for JLENS also to extend the ranges of the Medium Extended Air Defense System and the Corps Surface-to-Air Missile System.

JLENS will operate at altitudes between 10,000 and 15,000 feet, detect long-range targets behind mountains and other terrain, and provide fire control for air- and missile-defense weapons. The system can operate from land or sea, and is relocatable. The elevated sensors can stay aloft for as long as 30 days.

Raytheon won the original JLENS design and demonstration contract in early 1998.

The JLENS replaces or augments previous cruise-missile-defense systems that have been cancelled or cut back, such as the Air Force Over-The-Horizon Backscatter radar, better known as the OTH-B, as well as the Navy's Relocatable Over-The-Horizon Radar, otherwise known as ROTHR.

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