From NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND Directorate of Public Affairs, Headquarters, North American Aerospace Defense Command:
UPDATE FROM North American Aerospace Defense Command
The Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) surveillance system aerostat is on the ground. It is mostly deflated and located in the vicinity of Moreland Township, Pennsylvania. Local authorities are securing the area and there is a military recovery team enroute.
The tail section is completely deflated and is being secured. An emergency operations center has been established in Pennsylvania; the crash sites are being assessed and recovery efforts are ongoing.
NORAD would like to note the tremendous cooperation we received from the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania National Guard in securing the site along with the Pennsylvania Emergency Operations Center in responding to this incident.
JLENS is a supporting program of the Army and Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense, providing persistent, over-the-horizon radar surveillance and fire control quality data on Army and Joint Networks. It enables protection from a wide variety of threats to include manned and unmanned aircraft, cruise missiles, and surface moving targets like swarming boats and tanks. A JLENS system consists of two aerostats: a fire control radar system and a wide-area surveillance radar system. Each radar system employs a separate 74-meter (243 feet long) tethered aerostat, a mobile mooring station, radar and communications payloads, a processing station, and associated ground support equipment. The JLENS aerostat will fly at an altitude of up to 10,000 feet above sea level.
Update 3: Detached Military Aerostat Lands
October 28, 2015
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – At approximately 4 p.m. EDT the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) Surveillance System aerostat landed in a rugged, wooded area in northeast Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania National Guard is working with local authorities to secure the area while technical recovery teams comprised of military and contracted personnel are enroute to the scene.
At approximately 12:20 p.m. EDT today, the JLENS Surveillance System aerostat detached from its mooring station at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland. The aerostat ascended from 6,600 feet to 16,000 feet prior to deflating. Two F-16 Fighter jets from Atlantic City Air National Guard Base monitored the JLENS Surveillance System aerostat as it drifted northward over Pennsylvania.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command will continue to work closely with our interagency partners as an investigation is conducted.
JLENS is part of a three year NORAD exercise. A JLENS system consists of two aerostats: a fire control radar system and a surveillance radar system. Each radar system employs a separate 74-meter (243 feet long) tethered aerostat, a mobile mooring station, radar and communications payloads, a processing station, and associated ground support equipment.
NORAD is the bi-national Canadian and American command that provides maritime warning, aerospace warning and aerospace control for Canada and the United States. The command has three subordinate regional headquarters: the Alaskan NORAD Region at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska; the Canadian NORAD Region at Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg, Manitoba; and the Continental NORAD Region at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.