Blimps are experiencing a bit of a renaissance. Recently Montabello, Calif.-based Aeros said it was working on a rigid airship that could fly like a plane and float like a balloon. And now Raytheon has just finished testing a military aerostat of that, starting next year, will be a first line of defense for Washington, D.C.
It’s called JLENS, for Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor, and it’s a pair of radar-equipped helium blimps tethered to the ground that give personnel the ability to see further away than with ground-based radar. The two blimps work together with one using radar to “see” an enemy target and the other guiding a missile to destroy it.
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