Flyaway Blimp Grounded
Aberdeen Proving Ground temporarily loses a prized possession.
Earlier today, a Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) surveillance system aerostat detached from its mooring station in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, and apparently explored the fall foliage northeast of Washington, D.C., over Pennsylvania.
The hot-headed hooligan has since been grounded. It is likely deflated and in the vicinity of Moreland Township, Pennsylvania.
Two F-16 Fighter jets from the Atlantic City Air National Guard Base monitored the freedom-loving scoundrel of a blimp, which for awhile, held at approximately 16,000 feet. NORAD officials said in a press release they worked closely with the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure air traffic safety, as well as with other interagency partners to address the safe recovery of the aerostat.
JLENS is a supporting program of the Army and Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense, providing persistent, over-the-horizon radar surveillance and fire control quality data on Army and Joint Networks. It enables protection from a wide variety of threats to include manned and unmanned aircraft, cruise missiles, and surface moving targets like swarming boats and tanks.
A JLENS system consists of two aerostats: a fire control radar system and a wide-area surveillance radar system. Each radar system employs a separate 74-meter (243 feet long) tethered aerostat, a mobile mooring station, radar and communications payloads, a processing station and associated ground support equipment.
NORAD is the bi-national Canadian and American command that provides maritime warning, aerospace warning and aerospace control for Canada and the United States. The command has three subordinate regional headquarters: the Alaskan NORAD Region at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska; the Canadian NORAD Region at Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg, Manitoba; and the Continental NORAD Region at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.
The aerostat will probably have its own Twitter account soon.