Technology

US Army Conducts Test Flight of New Blimp Over New Jersey

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

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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.