R.I.P. blimp, we hardly knew ye.
According to the Associated Press, the gentle giant, while grounded, still had some helium in its nose. State police, armed with shotguns, fired about 100 shots at it.
U.S. Army Captain Matthew Villa said it is still not known how the 240-foot helium-filled blimp known as the JLENS, or Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, broke loose from its mooring at Aberdeen Proving Ground, and that a two-person accident-investigation team was headed to the site of its landing.
Sensitive electronics on board the blimp have been recovered, Villa said. As The Intercept pointed out last year, promotional material from the billion-dollar blimp’s manufacturer, Raytheon, lauded a test in which the JLENS radar “simultaneously detected and tracked double-digit swarming boats, hundreds of cars and trucks, non-swarming boats and manned and unmanned aircraft.” The military is considering using helicopters to remove the rest of the wreckage.
(Also from The Intercept, here is an excellent and creepy documentary about a similar U.S. military surveillance balloon tethered about Kabul.)
On Wednesday, Kay Houseknecht looked out her window and saw the remnants of the blimp “flapping in the trees.” “What a waste,” she said.