Soldiers will soon have a system that enables them to protect sailors and safeguard commercial and military navigation in strategic waterways. In June, a series of tests demonstrated that Raytheon’s JLENS is capable of detecting and tracking swarming boats from hundreds of miles away.
During the tests, JLENS simultaneously detected and tracked multiple speedboats on the Great Salt Lake. The boats, similar to swarming boats in the inventories of hostile navies in high-threat regions, simulated a real-world scenario with a series of tactical maneuvers at low and high speeds.
“JLENS is affordable because during a 30-day period, one system provides the warfighter the same around-the-clock coverage that it would normally take four or five fixed-wing surveillance aircraft to provide,” said David Gulla, vice president of Global Integrated Sensors for Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business.
“JLENS is significantly less expensive to operate than a fixed-wing surveillance aircraft because it takes less than half the manpower to operate and has a negligible maintenance and fuel cost.”
JLENS is an elevated, persistent over-the-horizon sensor system. It uses a powerful integrated radar system to detect, track and target a variety of threats.
This capability better enables commanders to defend against threats, including hostile cruise missiles, low-flying manned and unmanned aircraft, and moving surface vehicles such as boats, SCUD-launchers, automobiles, trucks and tanks – and provides ascent phase detection of tactical ballistic missiles and large caliber rockets.
A JLENS system, referred to as an orbit, consists of two tethered, 74-meter aerostats connected to mobile mooring stations and a communications and processing group.
The aerostats fly as high as 10,000 feet and can remain aloft and operational for up to 30 days.
One aerostat carries a surveillance radar with 360-degree surveillance capability; the other aerostat carries a fire control radar.
According to research conducted by the U.S. Army’s JLENS Product office, the cost of operating large, fixed-wing surveillance aircraft is 5-7 times greater than the cost of operating JLENS.