Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Jane's Defence Weekly August 31, 2011

The US Army's Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor (JLENS) is set to begin evaluating a key element of the system after programme funding was recently boosted to speed developmental testing. Testing of a full orbit for the persistent 'over-the-horizon' sensor system is expected by the end of the year as integration of the capability's two main components is proceeding well, according to Ken Gordon, JLENS programme manager for prime contractor Raytheon. A JLENS orbit includes two tethered 74 m aerostats built by TCOM: one carrying a 360-degree surveillance radar and the other a fire control radar (FCR). From its perch 10,000 ft (3,000 m) above a battlefield, the surveillance radar detects incoming threats and then cues the FCR, which can relay targeting information to an air-defence weapon system such as Patriot. JLENS is meant to track and facilitate engagements of cruise missiles and 'air-breathing' threats, but it can also detect various aircraft, missile and surface targets. It is designed to stay aloft for up to 30 days.