US Army Conducts Test Flight of New Blimp Over New Jersey

The new vehicle could be deployed to Afghanistan in early 2013.


On Tuesday, not far from the beaches of New Jersey, was a sight hundreds of millions of dollars and years of development in the making: the Army's football-field-size robot spy blimp took to the air for the first time at a military base in Lakehurst. The 90-minute flight of the Long-Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV), manufactured by aerospace giant Northrop Grumman, is only the beginning of a months-long test program — the lighter-than-air ship won't head to a warzone until next year at the earliest — but it's still important news. For years, the Pentagon has tried and failed to get next-generation airships off the ground. No longer.