31 July 2013

"Blimp" = Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor (JLENS)? [video]

Raytheon's "Blimp," or JLENS, will someday be deployed over Washington D.C.  As shown in the Company's video, the early warning surveillance system can perform a number of tasks -- all while remaining aloft for up to 30 days. It recently completed a series of tests at a Utah facility. Raytheon believes the platform is capable of providing minutes of warning vs. the seconds that conventional airborne systems typically offer.

What is the threat? According to its proponents, the JLENS could help detect or deter anti-ship sea-skimming cruise missiles, ground targets UAVs and swarming boats (think USS Cole bombing) by providing continuous detection and fire control data. For example, Raytheon claims in the promo that conventional radar can only detect anti-ship cruise missiles could be detected only seconds from their intended target. Instead, under some circumstances, JLENS could alert defenders at time of launch.

Although JLENS was envisioned for use in the Persian Gulf, some believe that protection of U.S., seaways and waterways, has not received adequate attention by Homeland Security.  

Knowlengr: Knowledge Engineering Analysis 

The JLENS airship (actually two aerostats) could represent a ready-made Big Data application. Its sensors could provide long term monitoring, making possible what Raytheon calls "patterns of life over time." That could bring terabytes of information. Which of course, bring to mind the long-discussed fusion challenges to be overcome for maritime situation awareness.

This story via George Leopard at Defense Systems.

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