APG Personnel Responding to JLENS Tether Break
(Source: US Army Aberdeen Proving Ground; issued October 28, 2015)
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. --- Personnel are responding to a tether break at the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Netted Sensor System (JLENS) location on the Edgewood side of APG.
The aerostat moored at Edgewood broke free at around 11:54 a.m.; approximately 6,700 feet of tether are attached. Emergency personnel are tracking the aerostat which is still aloft in moving toward Pennsylvania.
Anyone who sees the aerostat is advised to contact 911 immediately; people are warned to keep a safe distance from the airship and tether as contact with them may present significant danger.
Rogue Blimp Causes Chaos In Rural US
(Source: Deutsche Welle German radio; published October 29, 2015)
A massive military airship has caused power outages and unknown amounts of damage after coming untethered. The JLENS zeppelin program has come under fire for its surveillance capability and its immense cost.
A huge JLENS surveillance blimp broke free from its moorings on Wednesday, wreaking havoc and causing power outages northeast of Washington.
After coming untethered from its station in Maryland, the zeppelin finally came down to earth nearly four hours later in Montour County, Pennsylvania.
Two F-16 fighter jets scrambled to pursue the blimp, dangerously dangling a 6,600-foot cable of thick, Kevlar-like material behind it. The National American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) also announced that part of the blimp's tail had fallen off, but could not confirm any injuries or damage.
"People are warned to keep a safe distance from the airship and tether as contact with them may present significant danger," said a statement from Aberdeen Proving Ground, the station where the aircraft is usually moored.
Billion dollar blimp
After nearly a decade in development, there are only two operational JLENS ("Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Netted Sensor System") blimps in existence. With radar so powerful they are capable of monitoring an area the size of Texas, critics have worried they could be used for domestic surveillance.
Although the Pentagon has adamantly denied a domestic surveillance agenda, saying the zeppelin cannot see people and has no cameras aboard, the program has also come under fire for its incredible budget - a whopping $2.8 billion thus far.
A JLENS blimp is usually capable of staying aloft for a month straight, and beyond surveillance, can also intercept a cruise missile in mid-flight.
Runaway US Military Blimp Back On Ground
(Source: Voice of America; issued Oct 28, 2015)
A large, unmanned U.S. military blimp that broke loose from its tether Wednesday and floated over Pennsylvania for several hours is back on the ground after deflating.
The aircraft landed in a wooded area near a small town north of the state capital, Harrisburg. There were no reports of injuries or serious damage, but about 30,000 people lost electricity as the blimp's long mooring cables snapped power lines while it drifted.
Two F-16 fighter jets trailed the blimp during its unplanned flight, but there were never any plans to shoot it down.
The blimp broke away from its mooring at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in northern Maryland on Wednesday afternoon and drifted north into central Pennsylvania. It caused excitement in small farming towns, with people taking pictures and telephoning police.
The unmanned blimp was the same kind used to provide surveillance against missiles and other airborne objects in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters the blimps have broken loose before in Afghanistan. It is unclear how Wednesday's incident happened, but Carter said bad weather might have been involved.
Officials also were uncertain what caused it to deflate.
A second blimp at Aberdeen used for fire control will be grounded until an investigation is complete.
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