Cruise Missile Defense Capabilities Within Reach Cruise Missile Defense Capabilities Within Reach by Staff Writers Tewksbury MA (SPX) Aug 28, 2009 The U.S. Army's Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Sensor (JLENS) System, which uses aerostats to elevate sensors for long-range target detection and tracking for superior land-attack cruise missile defense, demonstrated its first flight during a ceremony in Elizabeth City, N.C. This flight reflects the maturity and operability of the JLENS platform - an aerostat platform that features 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, enabling sufficient warning to engage air defense systems and defeat threats. The flight demonstration marked the first time a JLENS aerostat was elevated to an altitude of 3,000 feet. "JLENS makes our current weapons systems more effective," said Lt. Col. Steve Wilhelm, project manager for the JLENS program. "Missiles that were once limited by their organic radars can now 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." Raytheon is the prime contractor and system integrator for JLENS. TCOM, as a subcontractor to Raytheon, manufactures the aerostat. "JLENS' unique capability builds on Raytheon's innovative air and missile defense history integrating SLAMRAAM, Patriot and multiple existing systems to protect our nation and allies from cruise missiles," said Pete Franklin, vice president for Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems' National and Theater Security Programs. "We are confident in the maturity and the agility of the system to adapt to evolving threats as well." The JLENS orbit (system) uses two advanced elevated 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(tm) 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 successfully conducted a critical design review (CDR) representing a key milestone in the U.S. Army program. The CDR thoroughly 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 transitioned into the fabrication, assembly, integration and test phase.