The First Blimp In Washington DC's New Missile Shield Is Aloft

The First Blimp in Washington DC's New Missile Shield Is Aloft

Over in the US, they've now floated the first of two football field-sized blimps that will serve as a missile shield for the capital, Washington DC. The tethered, helium-filled aerostat is equipped with anti-missile and anti-drone radar to protect the capital from attacks. It also looks like a cartoon.

There's nothing cartoonish about the so-called JLENS system, however. "JLENS is strategically emplaced to help defend Washington D.C. and a Texas-sized portion of the East Coast from cruise missiles, drones and hostile aircraft," said Dave Gulla, a vice president of Raytheon who built the system. "JLENS can detect potential threats at extremely long ranges, giving North American Aerospace Defence Command more time to make decisions and more space to react appropriately."

The second blimp is set to be deployed in early 2015. Both blimps will float 10,000 feet above the ground, where they will undergo further testing before being officially handed over to the Army. Raytheon also has another JLENS system in storage, ready to be deployed anywhere in the world. [Raytheon]

Image via AP