Army to Launch Surveillance Blimps
The U.S. Army plans to launch two stationary "blimps" at 10,000-feet in the air to protect the Washington D.C. area from cruise missiles and other possible air attacks.
It's part of a three-year test by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) of the so-called JLENS System, which is designed to work with already existing air defense technology, said a CNN report.
The tethered large balloons, called aerostats, carry technology that will almost double the reach of current ground radar detection, CNN said.
The JLENS system -- Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor -- has no firing capability. Any response to missile attacks would still come from ground missiles, ships and airplanes, according to CNN.
The balloons will fly above the Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland and do not carry any cameras.
"It's not for surveillance," said NORAD spokesman Michael Kucharek. "It's simply for the detection of cruise missiles."