Aerostat-based over the horizon radar for cruise missile defense demonstrated by Raytheon

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C., 25 Aug. 2009. Radar systems designers at the Raytheon Co. Integrated Defense Systems segment in Tewksbury, Mass., demonstrated an aerostat-based over the horizon radar for cruise missile defense in flight today in Elizabeth City, N.C.

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C., 25 Aug. 2009.Radar systems designers at the Raytheon Co. Integrated Defense Systems segment in Tewksbury, Mass., demonstrated an aerostat-based over the horizon radar for cruise missile defense in flight today in Elizabeth City, N.C.

The airborne radar system, the U.S. Army's Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Sensor (JLENS) system, uses aerostats to elevate airborne sensor suites for long-range target detection and tracking for land-attack cruise missile defense. The demonstration marked the first time a JLENS aerostat was elevated to an altitude of 3,000 feet.

JLENS has long-duration, wide-area, over-the-horizon detection and tracking of low-altitude cruise missiles. Its capabilities provide battlefield commanders with enhanced situational awareness and elevated communications, to warn of cruise missile threats. Raytheon is the prime contractor and system integrator for JLENS.

"JLENS makes our current weapons systems more effective," says Army Lt. Col. Steve Wilhelm, project manager for the JLENS program. "Missiles that were once limited by their organic radars can meet their full kinematic potential because of the extended ranges provided by JLENS radars. This first flight brings us one step closer to providing that capability."

JLENS uses two advanced elevated airborne sensor systems to support surface-to-air missile systems in performing over-the-horizon intercepts of land attack cruise missiles, and detection and tracking of large caliber rockets, surface-moving targets, and theater ballistic missiles in the ascent phase.

The surveillance sensor performs wide area surveillance and fire control sensor cueing. A multi-functional fire control sensor then performs sector surveillance, provides combat identification support, and supports intercepts.

Each sensor is deployed on a 74M aerostat tethered to a mobile mooring station and connected to ground-based communication and processing equipment. This provides the warfighter with a low-altitude single integrated air picture and the ability to conduct air-directed surface-to air missile engagements.

Earlier this year, JLENS conducted a critical design review (CDR), which assessed all aspects of the JLENS design maturity and confidence for the $1.4 billion system design and demonstration contract. With this milestone completed, the JLENS program shifted into the fabrication, assembly, integration and test phase.

For more information contact Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems online at www.raytheon.com.

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-- Posted by John Keller, jkeller@pennwell.com. www.milaero.com.

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