Army to Deploy Anti-Missile/Surveillance Blimps over Washington D.C.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
JLENS (photo: Raytheon)

The U.S. military is preparing to deploy state-of-the-art blimps over Washington, DC, to provide early warning detection of missile attacks. The floating eyes-in-the-sky will also provide surveillance capabilities covering much of the eastern seaboard, all the way to Canada.


Sometime within the next year, the U.S. Army will deploy two JLENS, known as the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System.


JLENS, manufactured by defense contractor Raytheon, is essentially a blimp 75 yards in length that carries sophisticated radar and lenses that can see 320 miles in any direction, while hovering about 10,000 feet above the earth.


Raytheon first tested JLENS over Utah, and is now sending the blimps to the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland for some additional work. After that, their next stop will be the nation’s capital, where the aircraft will be able to operate continuously without refueling for upwards of a month at a time.


JLENS was created to enable the military “to defend against threats including hostile cruise missiles, low-flying manned and unmanned aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles, large caliber rockets and moving surface vehicles such as boats, SCUD-launchers, automobiles and tanks,” according to Raytheon.


But civil libertarians have expressed concerns over the program, wondering if JLENS will only be employed against foreign enemies.


“When the government is conducting real-time aerial surveillance within the United States,” Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center told The Huffington Post, “there are privacy issues that need to be addressed.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Pentagon to Deploy Huge Blimps over Washington, DC for 360-Degree Surveillance (RT)

Don’t Be Alarmed by the Drone Blimps Hovering Over D.C. They’re Here to Stop Cruise Missiles (by Brian Resnick, National Journal)

JLENS (Raytheon)


Jennifer 5 years ago
USA is developing new technologies for the protection of its own nationals. But this thing would raise concerns in the mind of Russians and Chinese thus heading forward towards global arms race while leaving behind the agenda of disarmament and NEW START...
areeks 5 years ago
All these efforts for what purposes? US government is pretending to protect its citizens but behind the seen nuclear lobbies are getting benefits due to high investment in defense. US has currently no any threat from nuclear attack and no threats from cruise missiles. Just an image is inbuilt in the minds of public to get favor.
Susan 5 years ago
It’s a good thing that US is unfolding new technology to provide safety and security to its nationals. JLENS is a long-range surveillance capability extends the battle space and gives commanders more time to identify and respond to incoming threats. This technology is enfolding itself in air, naval, land and missile dimensions. It’s a very substantial act that despite of intervening in any other country’s territory in shape of drone attacks, US would be stand on its own security grounds against any odds to its national security. In addition, US will be limiting its security concerns to its own territory and doesnt need to peep in to others affairs which is a compelte wastage of finances.

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