US Army soldiers have been certificated to operate Raytheon’s joint land-attack cruise missile defence elevated sensor (JLENS) radar system, to safeguard the National Capital Region (NCR) against cruise missiles and drone threats.

Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems Global Integrated Sensors business area vice-president Dave Gulla said: "When JLENS deploys to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., later this year, it will provide a powerful new capability to the National Capital Region’s Integrated Air Defense System (IADS).

"With this certification, the soldiers now possess the skills to maximise the capabilities of JLENS to help defend our country from the growing cruise missile and drone threat."

Working with the US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), Raytheon helped the A Battery, 3rd Air Defense Artillery soldiers to develop the tactics, techniques and procedures for using JLENS as part of the NCR IADS.

Featuring two tethered, 74m helium-filled aerostats, JLENS is an affordable, elevated and persistent over-the-horizon sensor system, designed to detect, track and engage a wide range of threats from up to 340m away.

"The soldiers now possess the skills to maximise the capabilities of JLENS."

The aerostats can fly at altitudes of 10,000ft above sea level and remain airborne for a month, enabling commanders to better defeat 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.

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Designed to integrate with Patriot, Standard Missile 6, advanced medium range air-to-air missiles and the national advanced surface-to-air missile system, JLENS also provides ascent-phase detection of tactical ballistic missiles and large-calibre rockets.

The system is expected to be used by the US Army, air force and navy, as part of a larger air and missile defence network.

Image: A JLENS aerostat being prepared for launch at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, US. Photo: courtesy of John Andrew Hamilton, ATEC.

Defence Technology