Missile-Tracking Blimps on Demand

The Army’s aerostat-based system called JLENS that is designed to detect and track cruise missiles and hostile aircraft is now available as a rapidly deployable asset for real-world use, if called on, announced manufacturer Raytheon on Tuesday. “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 defense capability in their area of responsibility,” said Dave Gulla, the company’s vice president for global integrated sensors. Each JLENS features two radar-carrying aerostats that hover at altitudes as high as 10,000 feet, according to the company’s June 24 release. The system has undergone extensive evaluation, states the release, This included a test in 2013 in which an F-15E pilot, using JLENS-supplied targeting data, fired an AIM-120 missile that brought down a cruise missile target.??