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Author Topic: Washington D.C. to Deploy Giant Defense Blimps. A little fearful aren't we?  (Read 5244 times)
The Fool
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February 06, 2013, 05:25:33 PM
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http://news.yahoo.com/blimps-bolster-washingtons-air-shield-test-204629886--finance.html

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A pair of big, blimp-like craft, moored to the ground and flying as high as 10,000 feet, are to be added to a high-tech shield designed to protect the Washington D.C. area from air attack, at least for a while.

The bulbous, helium-filled "aerostats" - each more than three quarters the length of a football field at 243 feet - are to be stitched into existing defenses as part of an exercise of new technology ordered by the Defense Department.

The coming addition to the umbrella over Washington is known as Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, or JLENS. Raytheon Co is the prime contractor.

"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," said Michael Kucharek, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
NORAD, a binational command, is responsible for defending air space over the United States and Canada, including the Washington area with its many pieces of important infrastructure.

The most significant air attack in the area took place on September 11, 2001, when Al Qaeda militants hijacked American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757, and crashed it into the Pentagon.

To expand the time available to detect and defend against any future attacks from commercial aircraft, major changes were made under Operation Noble Eagle, combat air patrols begun after the September 11 attacks.
Airspace restrictions were extended. U.S. Army Sentinel radars for low-altitude radar coverage and short-range Stinger/Avenger missile batteries were deployed.

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.

EXPECTED BY END OF SEPTEMBER
The JLENS craft are expected to arrive in the capital area by September 30, according to Kucharek, who is also a spokesman for the U.S. Northern Command, which coordinates the Pentagon's homeland defense role.

A "capabilities demonstration," as the test is called, is expected to last as long as three years. Its location is being withheld, pending notification of lawmakers and others.

JLENS craft work in a roughly $450 million pair, known as an orbit, each tethered to mobile moorings. 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 as high as 10,000 feet for up to 30 days at a time, JLENS is meant to give the military more time to detect and react to threats, including cruise missiles and manned and unmanned aircraft, compared with ground-based radar.

The system 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.

A success in the U.S. capital area could give a boost to the JLENS program, which has been scaled back sharply along with the Pentagon's other 15 or so lighter-than-air vehicle efforts.

Blimp-like craft offer several advantages compared with fixed-wing aircraft, including lower cost, larger payload capacity and extended time aloft. However, their funding is to fall sharply as Pentagon spending shrinks to help pare trillion-dollar-a-year U.S. deficits.
Peter Huessy, a consultant on nuclear deterrence and missile defense, said the system would compliment current U.S. missile-defense capabilities.
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February 06, 2013, 06:15:28 PM
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This has to be the most stupid thing they've done so far.
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February 06, 2013, 09:19:40 PM
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Fringe?

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February 07, 2013, 10:34:12 AM
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C'mon, everyone! Think!

What can you not do from ground-based arrays that you can do from the air? And no, these are not going to be shooting anything.

Well, I take that back. They'll most likely be shooting ... pictures. Which is easier, install "license plate cameras" throughout the greater DC area or install "defense blimps" over it? In particular, the internet would go nuts if DC started rolling out a new surveillance program. And the blimps a lot less vulnerable to petty thieves and vandalism.

This isn't for defense! There are enough radar arrays around DC to spot a pigeon. And as any DC resident will tell you, there are a lot of pigeons. And don't forget the military satellites that also cover the area. "Slow, low flying aircraft," the article says... heh, that's just government-speak for "fast-moving car." The satellites can easily spot an object the size of a missile. But the blimps will be able to look at a 45-degree oblique angle and the payload is simple to switch out for tempest operations. Watergate, you have met your match.
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February 07, 2013, 10:44:55 AM
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stan.distortion: awesome! I hadn't thought about the fear it will inspire, seeing it there blocking out the sky.
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February 07, 2013, 09:10:57 PM
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Ha, I just watched a show last night where the enemy had a balloon over a battlefield to intercept communications.

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February 08, 2013, 03:10:40 AM
 #7

I know that if I was trillions in debt I would be buying 1/2 billion dollar blimps!

They would be better off flying a fighter CONSTANTLY vs this blimp if it is really 500 million.

First of all they have the fighter and the pilots and they could get some training/flight time out of it.  Second, the response time would be much better with a fighter in the air.  The blimp might let us know something is coming but the fighter can both do the same job and potentially kill the target. 

I am sure they can sell the blimp claiming it has some detection edge, but the main thing is getting a radar in the air up high, and the radars on modern fighters are quite good. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_F-22_Raptor#Avionics

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February 08, 2013, 04:08:54 AM
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Who needs drones when you can have a giant fucking blimp spying on everyone?

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February 08, 2013, 11:25:42 AM
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Drones also don't work in DC because of the potential for them to malfunction. 2 gigantic blimps just say, "I'm in charge," in a really concrete way, also avoiding the panic if some drone goes haywire.
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February 08, 2013, 11:40:52 AM
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I know that if I was trillions in debt I would be buying 1/2 billion dollar blimps!

If you know for sure that you are going to default at some point in the future, what sense does it make to spend money wisely? you may as well party until the credit runs out.

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February 08, 2013, 11:44:18 AM
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I wonder how hard it would be for a terrorist to hit the blimp with a laser and take out the ordinance?

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February 08, 2013, 11:45:33 AM
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So I guess we are the other universe then ?


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February 08, 2013, 03:49:11 PM
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Drones also don't work in DC because of the potential for them to malfunction. 2 gigantic blimps just say, "I'm in charge," in a really concrete way, also avoiding the panic if some drone goes haywire.

The blimps are drones and can go haywire as well.  Blimps are much more endangered by storms or even high wind then conventional drones. 

An F22 says I am in charge more then a blimp. 

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February 08, 2013, 04:08:58 PM
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Yes! Bring back the zeppelins!
And now, imagine something like freedom tower with Tor node installed on that thing.
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February 08, 2013, 04:54:19 PM
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I wonder how hard it would be for a terrorist to hit the blimp with a laser and take out the ordinance?
Hitting it at 10000 feet with a laser?
You would need a very big laser to do any damage.

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February 08, 2013, 06:00:22 PM
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I wonder how hard it would be for a terrorist to hit the blimp with a laser and take out the ordinance?
Hitting it at 10000 feet with a laser?
You would need a very big laser to do any damage.
Maybe then painting it with a laser and using a guided rocket. It just seems too easy to knock down such a high priced boondoggle.

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February 08, 2013, 06:06:35 PM
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I wonder how hard it would be for a terrorist to hit the blimp with a laser and take out the ordinance?
Hitting it at 10000 feet with a laser?
You would need a very big laser to do any damage.
Maybe then painting it with a laser and using a guided rocket. It just seems too easy to knock down such a high priced boondoggle.

It might also get a good read on who did it.  If you have a rocket that can go 10,000 feet and destroy the blimp you can do a lot more damage against other targets then the blimp itself.  Nobody is going to shoot at it. 

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February 08, 2013, 06:48:56 PM
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It is interesting that the JLENS is billed and an air defense tool but as you read farther into it, they say it can be used to defend against cars and boats that could be used as a weapon.  I wonder how they are doing that?

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February 08, 2013, 07:40:22 PM
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How long until this happens....... again?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F54rqDh2mWA

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February 08, 2013, 08:12:19 PM
 #20

Follow-up news

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Anarchists and libertarians to deploy high school kids with BB guns.


Also,
Quote
Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, or JLENS

They really need to stop that idiocy. It was cool with the acronyms for a while, but now they're not even trying. I mean wtf is a "land attack cruise missile?"

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