Last Updated: 10/08/2012*

Raytheon Aerostat, SM-6 Missile Work Together to Protect Ships

Soon the seas may be a little safer.

On Sept. 21, 2012, on an isolated test range in New Mexico, Raytheon’s JLENS aerostat provided targeting information to a Standard Missile-6, enabling the weapon to successfully engage an anti-ship cruise missile target.

The integrated test conducted by the U.S. Army and Navy marked the first time the two systems worked together to engage a target by sharing information over the Raytheon Cooperative Engagement Capability network.

“This test is of critical importance for the JLENS program because it demonstrates the system’s ability to integrate with existing U.S. Navy systems and proves that JLENS is ready to deploy,” said Dave Gulla, Raytheon’s vice president of Global Integrated Sensors.

The simulated naval engagement took place at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

JLENS stands for Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, but the system’s capability goes far beyond hunting cruise missiles. It’s designed to defend against a large assortment of threats, like low-flying manned and unmanned aircraft, large caliber rockets, boats, SCUD launchers, automobiles and tanks.

JLENS System
Raytheon's Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor (JLENS) System Video

SM-6 Sea-based Testing
Standard Missile-6 Sea-based Testing Video

In June, the system simultaneously tracked multiple speedboats on the Great Salt Lake in Utah, proving its ability to detect “swarming boat” attacks on ships. The U.S. Army has already certified the first group of soldiers trained to operate the system.

The land-based, tethered aerostat is 74 meters (243 feet) long and carries a powerful, long-range radar system.

Anti-ship cruise missiles are a growing global danger. In the hands of hostile nations or rogue groups, they pose a threat to U.S. Navy and allied ships and are a menace to commercial ships navigating strategic waterways.

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