Army now has a large, radar-equipped aerostat perched high above the Washington,
D.C., area that will help defend the nation's capital and nearby region from
air threats, announced
manufacturer Raytheon. Company engineers lofted the football-field-sized
tethered blimp above rural Maryland in late December and then ran tests with it,
states the company's release. A second aerostat is scheduled to go aloft early this
year. The two helium-filled aerostats comprise the company's JLENS system. From
their perches about 10,000 feet above the ground, the blimps will be able to
support NORAD's mission of defending North American airspace by detecting
threats from long ranges. "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, Raytheon's vice
president for global integrated sensors, in the company's Dec. 27 release. (See
Blimps on Demand.)
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The Senate Armed Services Committee’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act, released by the committee late Thursday, would provide for $715.9 billion in spending, according to a summary produced by the committee.
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