Unknown to most Americans, the Pentagon has spent $2.7 billion developing a system of giant radar-equipped blimps to provide an early warning if the country were ever attacked with cruise missiles, drones or other low-flying weapons. The Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defence Elevated Netted Sensor System known as JLENS designed and developed by Raytheon Company provides warfighters with enhanced battlefield surveillance and targeting capabilities against potential threats over long ranges. It consists of two large, unmanned, helium-filled aerostats. It carries a radar system designed to detect and track threats such as cruise missiles, drones, aircraft, large calibre rockets, vehicles, and maritime surface vessels. Interestingly, this radar system can float up to 10,000 feet and provide 360 degree coverage.
It can also detect threats over the horizon, up to 340 miles away, and can stay airborne for up to 30 days providing continual protection. The aerostats will fly 24 hours a day, except in times of severe weather or required maintenance, providing radar coverage of the assigned areas. This spy balloon integrates with defensive systems such as the Patriot missile defence system, the Standard Missile 6 employed by Aegis BMD systems, Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles or AMRAAM, and the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System or NASAMS, as well as other command and control and defensive systems.
Credit Military TV