The Raytheon-built joint land-attack cruise missile defence elevated sensor (JLENS) system has been placed in strategic readiness by the US Army.
Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems Global Integrated Sensors business area vice-president Dave Gulla said: "By putting JLENS in strategic reserve, the army is giving combatant commanders around the globe the ability to pick up the phone and, in short order, receive this incredible air-defence capability in their area of responsibility."
Equipped with a powerful integrated radar system, JLENS is an affordable, elevated and persistent over-the-horizon sensor system, designed to detect, track and engage a broad range of threats.
The system primarily helps combatant commanders defeat a variety of threats, including hostile cruise missiles, low-flying manned and unmanned aircraft, as well as moving surface vehicles, such as swarming boats, mobile missile launchers, automobiles and tanks.
Featuring two tethered, 74m aerostats that are networked to mobile mooring stations, and a communications and processing group, the system provides 24/7 surveillance coverage for 30 days, in addition to enabling ascent phase detection of tactical ballistic missiles and large-calibre rockets.
Raytheon JLENS programme director Doug Burgess said: "JLENS has proven its ability to extend the air-defence umbrella by integrating with our nation's land, sea, and air-based air defences to detect and intercept threats, such as airplanes, drones and cruise missiles.
"The success of this operational evaluation is another significant step forward, because it will demonstrate that JLENS has unmatched defensive capabilities. Raytheon is doing its part to get both the soldiers and the system ready."
Development on the JLENS began in 2005 and since then it has been put through extensive testing. It completed the army's early user testing in July 2013 and concluded system design and development later the same year.
To date, of the two JLENS systems procured by the army, one is kept in strategic reserve and the other is scheduled to participate in an operational evaluation later this year at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, US.
Image: The 74m-long tethered aerostat of the joint land-attack cruise missile defence elevated sensor system. Photo: courtesy of US Army.Mil.