US Army's Gigantic 90m Drone Blimp Is Alive

The LEMV is a robot blimp the size of a football field, designed to spy across an entire battlefield for weeks at a time. It also looked like military vapourware until now, soaring over the Jersey Shore. You won't believe how huge it is.

You might think a blimp — a concept militarised during WWI — is a strange choice for the 21st century battlefield. You might think it's too farfetched to ever become a reality — after all, we started writing about it three years ago, and today the Pentagon can't even get conventional jets to not cause pilots to black out. But the name of the game is autonomy, and the prospect of a robotic eye that can watch over enormous swaths of enemy terrain without the need for refuelling, maintenance or a human crew is obviously attractive. Crusted with sensors, guided by satellites and floating thousands of feet above combatants, the LEMV will potentially make surveillance over zones like Afghanistan as easy as watching a convenience store security camera. Cruise the giant robot with a joystick, spot the bad guys, and then blow them up with a smaller robot. This is war.

Yesterday's inaugural flight over New Jersey, which surely startled a few beachgoers and ambling guidos — means the blimp is more than just a Pentagon wet dream. The army says the test went as planned, and according to Danger Room, the LEMV could hit Afghanistan for combat testing as soon as next year, where it'll no doubt attract some attention. It's not often you see a 90m blimp hovering over Afghanistan. [Danger Room]


Comments

    It's the perfect platform to fly over all of their ready to go FEMA holiday camps!

    that's quite obviously the duff blimp... If it is a uav I and it's flying over jersey shores like you said I hope it rained missles down on that stupid show

    This push for the automation of military duties can only be a bad thing.
    Sure, wouldn't it be good to spy on insurgents and kill them with smart missiles... but what would be the reaction if Afghan blimps were hovering over Sydney? The first robot "suicide" bomber?
    The decision for war is becoming easier due to this dis-association, where we should be making it harder.

    It's cool, but damn it's big - how high will it fly? Can't help but think it's a terribly inviting target.

    Hmmm.... massive blimp loaded with all sorts of electronics and super-duper cameras... I know, lets run it over the beach and check out all the hot chicks!
    Hell, it probably has the gear on board to negate clothing to pick up explosives etc... nice one!

    Are the American Army that stupid that they think that the enemy wont look up and see a great big damn blimp floating past.

    I cant really see a real use for a drone blimp, i always thought the purpose of a drone is to be inconspicuous, there is nothing more obvious then a blimp.

      LOL what would they do? Hide until the blimp left? Considering it can hang around for weeks, it doesn't really matter if its seen or not

        Given its size and visibility, it must have some kind of super duper way to avoid incoming AA missiles and AA gunfire. Otherwise deploying it over any kind of hostile territory would just be asking for it to be blown to bits.

      Firstly, have you ever heard of blue paint or that thing called camouflage? Maybe the point is to be seen as well, it could be devastating to the enemies moral having this thing around all the time.

      Every now and then, you hear whining buzz of drones coming in from a distance and BOOM, some enemy dead. Now, when this happens every time they organized a meeting, you get scared to go to any meeting.

    This reminds me of RedAlert game. Kirov, reporting! good old days

    there seems to be a lot of negatives about these hybrids do you think the u.s. army will put this easy target in danger without the means to defend its self one at 22,000 ft and no heat signature radar will find hard to lock on and if they do a missile down the radar will destroy the aa battery before they can get a a shell off it will packed with surveillance and with a twenty one day loiter any thing that moves in a huge area will be spotted and dealt with. lsloo

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