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The Military Technology

Blimps To Help Protect Washington DC From Air Attack 270

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Reuters reports that a pair of bulbous, helium-filled 'aerostats', each 243 feet long, will be moored to the ground and fly as high as 10,000 feet, as part of a high-tech shield designed to protect the Washington D.C. area from an air attack like the one that took place on September 11, 2001. One of the aerostats carries a powerful long-range surveillance radar with a 360-degree look-around capability that can reach out to 340 miles. The other carries a radar used for targeting. Operating for up to 30 days at a time, JLENS is meant to give the military more time to detect and react to threats (PDF), including cruise missiles and manned and unmanned aircraft, compared with ground-based radar and is also designed to defend against tactical ballistic missiles, large caliber rockets and moving vehicles that could be used for attacks, including boats, cars and trucks. 'We're trying to determine how the surveillance radar information from the JLENS platforms can be integrated with existing systems in the National Capital Region,' says Michael Kucharek, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Washington is currently guarded by an air-defense system that includes Federal Aviation Administration radars and Department of Homeland Security helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft on alert at Reagan National Airport to intercept slow, low-flying aircraft."
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Blimps To Help Protect Washington DC From Air Attack

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  • Scary Blimps (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @10:00AM (#42807661)

    The designers should give the blimps a dark steampunk look so that visitors to DC can pretend like they are in a euro-WWII-alternate-timeline story.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @10:40AM (#42808087)

    I work in government. Don't spend money you've been allocated and not only will your budget be cut even harder next year, but you'll also be criticized for "sitting on" the money. It's totally fucked up. Once your budget is set (playing a game of "I want a pony" to receive a small dog) it's better to overspend than to save. My department was almost set on a plan to blow cash on some very expensive software packages that we knew would be lightly used to "bleed off" some budget, but then we got the order to go into survival mode and save everywhere - which works fine for me since that package was almost used in place of some FLOSS that could do the job just fine, what a waste that would have been.

  • Re:Brilliant! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @11:00AM (#42808383)

    Because those who call themselves that often advocate privatizing government resources.

    These folks are as interested in a real free market as much as the Chinese are in actual communism.

    A free market without government intervention is of course not possible, for reference I suggest Adam Smith. Monopolies and such are a real pain.

  • Re:Brilliant! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) * on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @01:00PM (#42809873)

    Ok, so what is stopping some enterprising person or entity from purchasing huge reserves of helium at these rock bottom prices?

    The fact that the "helium shortage" [] is nonsense made up by bloggers that are dumb enough to think they are smarter than the market, but aren't quite dumb enough to put their money where their mouth is. America's proven reserves of helium will meet current demand for centuries. Unproven, but extractable, reserves are probably an order of magnitude higher. We are not running out of helium, at least not in this millennium.

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