Airplanes, drones and cruise missiles pose a significant threat to people, population centers, key infrastructure and our military. That’s where JLENS, a blimp-borne radar system made by Raytheon, comes in.

JLENS, which is short for Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, is a system of two aerostats, or tethered airships, that float 10,000 feet in the air. The helium filled aerostats, each nearly as long as a football field, carry powerful radars that can protect a territory roughly the size of Texas from airborne threats.

JLENS: The Future of Defense

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JLENS provides 360-degrees of defensive radar coverage and can detect and track objects like missiles, and manned and unmanned aircraft from up to 340 miles away. JLENS can also remain aloft and operational for up to 30 days at a time. This potent combination of persistence and capability give defenders more time and more distance to:

  • Identify potential threats
  • Make critical decisions
  • Conduct crucial notifications

JLENS allows the military to safeguard hundreds of miles of territory at a fraction of the cost of fixed wing aircraft, and it can integrate with defensive systems including:

One JLENS system, known as an orbit, can provide the same 24/7 coverage for a 30-day period that 4-5 fixed wing surveillance aircraft (AWACS, JSTARS or E-2C) can provide.

  • Depending on the kind of aircraft used, a fixed-wing surveillance aircraft is 500-700% more expensive to operate than a JLENS during that same time period because of manpower, maintenance and fuel costs.
  • A JLENS orbit uses less than 50% of the manpower it requires to fly a fixed wing aircraft