A defense network against Russian cruise missiles has silently been devised by the Pentagon. Radars are an essential part of this defense network since they would allow National Guard F-16 fighter jets to abolish fast and low-flying missiles.
Leader of NORTHCOM and NORAD, William Gortney, requested permission to place AESA radars on fighter jets, which guard the airspace above area of Washington.
Pentagon’s plan of defense is confidential. However, military officials have revealed some pieces of information in public forums, speeches and congressional hearings. Overall conclusion is that Pentagon is worried about development of highly developed guided missiles by Russia. Their main goal is to be appropriately prepared in the event of attack.
Such preparations have included ballistic missile defense. According to experts, North Korea and Iran will probably be the ones to use this type of weapon.
Emerging issue presents the ability to protect the US mainland against smaller, shorter-range cruise missiles.
Cruise missiles present a threat since they are more difficult to detect and intercept because they are launched from ships, submarines and other launchers. They fly and maneuver close to the ground and radars can hardly detect them.
But those in charge of buying military equipment have hardly been concerned over the warnings of many combatant commanders.
The Army has been criticized by Commander Charles Jacoby for not allowing funds for cruise missile defense projects. The advancement in cruise missile technology in adversary states imposes a real threat to current defense mechanism in the US.
JLENS system is currently being tested by the Pentagon on a military compound Aberdeen Proving Ground. This aircraft has radar on its belly which is able to detect small moving objects. Since this airship hovers 10,000 feet above the ground, it has ability to see beyond the range of ground radars. JLENS will be tested during a three-year period.
The use of this system could be expanded on other districts beyond the district of National Capital Region. They are also looking into other defense systems like new missile interceptors. Ground-launched missile interceptors could be positioned around major cities.
The main concern
The Pentagon is worried about Russia’s development of an air-launched cruise missile whose range is reported to be higher than 1,200 miles.
Russia is equipped with cruise missiles which can be launched from ships and submarines and can be hidden in special containers.
According to Gortney, the most successful manner to defeat the cruise missile is to eliminate or sink the archer. In addition to this, the Pentagon has to further develop the strategy to eliminate the archer.
Network of radars has to be installed all over the US in order to have full coverage against guided missiles.
Even though JLENS has given good results during simulated cruise missile testing, experts reported that JLENS is not tied into the computer network of NORTHCOM. Greater air traffic also presents a challenge. It is said that JLENS are better than other radars since it can also track and target objects like cruise missiles.
JLENS has been constructed by Raytheon. So far, one is in use at Aberdeen while the second one is in storage and prepared for use.
However, in order to successfully defend Washington, sensors, interceptors and guidelines on what to do are essential.