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Blimp-like aerostats are heading to D.C. area

WASHINGTON - The blimp-like aircraft called aerostats are designed to protect against terrorist attacks from thousands of feet above the clouds. Soon, they are coming to the Washington, D.C. area. The aerostats are filled with helium and are three-fourths of the size of a football field. They fly up to 10,000 feet above sea level while tethered to mobile stations on the ground. They carry powerful, 360-degree radars that can see threats beyond the horizon, alerting the military of potential… ( 更多...

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markeg 3
This is nothing new! They had a couple of these in the Florida keys at least 30 years ago.
I used to fly down there from Tampa and always made sure I avoided the Prohibited airspace around them. My cousin worked on them until his foot got caught in a guy rope while launching it. He was carried up about 20ft. before he got loose, broke his ankle and retired from the job. One was a downlooking radar to catch drug smugglers or other scarry stuff out there:-)the other one was to broadcast propaganda to Cuba. A waste and a hazard to navigation then and the same now. Just more money for the defence contractors and more toys for the military. What's going to attack us that our ships and aircraft already deployed can't detect. The boogy man they try to keep us scared of does'nt have the weapons and means to deliver them unles the US sells it to them, which would'nt be too far fetched.
preacher1 2
It don't say how many are coming, but at $450 million a pop, ain't that just a little bit of over kill?
At least 2 are required - it seems they operate in pairs. And they are tethered, so the cable is one more obstacle to clutter the airspace - that'll need a no-fly zone around each one.
preacher1 2
I was thinkn' no fly zone as well. Wouldn't that make them and that area an automatic target as well?
Nothing is too expensive for our special 545. :-)
isardriver 2
i remember one in baghdad (biap), as well as many other FOB's. the one in Baghdad was accidentally cut loose several times, due to high rotary traffic. at least three times that i know of was the tether cut because a helo crew didn't read the advisory and hit the line. to top it off, the aerostat became a real target to be chased and shot down, as the prevailing winds would carry the blimp and its associated high tech collection gear towards iran
Takes a strong tether to hold them. What happened to the helos?
isardriver 1
not sure - i have not heard of any serious crash-landings. someone else might have. i suspect they were able to emer. land in addition to the landing pads being nearby
The blades are really strong when the tips are moving at near speed of sound. I have cut branches 6" diameter. Don't know what that tether is made of. I have flown past the tethered balloon by Cross City, Fl. When it was at 8k ft. They are gone now. Guess they didn't catch enough drug runners. Lol
isardriver 2
i hear you and agree. nonetheless, these things will be a safety hazard and who knows if the risk is greater than the gain. not sure how well the stuff in baghdad was monitored.
I sure would hate to be the one who flew into a tether since nobody will know where they are...Another ****** gov. project to spend the taxpayers money. Thanks, bho.
stump52 2
We sit here and buy useless crap like this, instead of either a) saving the money or b) spending it on something worthwhile, like sonic boom mitigation, more fuel-efficient turbines, advanced materials, or hell even space exploration. This is why we can't have nice things.
preacher1 1
Got to keep the good folks at Raytheon working
mcdonobr 2
Forget the aerostats, why not just paint a big "X" on the Capital bldg., then we could vote again and perhaps get an effective government reestablished?
A humorous comment about a truly sad situation. If we don't laugh we surely would cry (or rebel).
God knows, there will be no shortage of hot air to keep them aloft...
I don't think is a good idea ,there is to many airplanes fly in this area ( more of them VFR ),like a Washington resident and you see the sky with your soons how you explaine them that you are not in the 2 War .
What will protect us from the (you name them) on the ground and in the Capitol?
rmchambers 1
Does anyone thing terrorists would try the very same method again? just what a bankrupt country needs to do.. piss away more money on useless showcasing.
Guess I am too dumb to understand the value of these aerostats --- over simply establishing a ring of 3 or 4 ground based radar stations in a radius around DC. You know we do not have any existing ground stations that could be augmented with whatever star-wars technology is in the aerostats - right? Should have to build new ones, for sure (read sarcastically, please).

In my feeble experience / understanding, I always thought these aerostats were used in very remote places where any existing radar assets were non-existent. Sure, there is the Atlantic Ocean to the East, but MD and DL give some territiory to the East.

As mentioned above, I just do not understand the value of these hazards to flight space, when there is an obvious, lower cost, easier to maintain solution already at our feet. Are we trying to create a make-jobs program here?? Are we trying to post a program that can later be cut and heralded as a great step in cutting fat from the budget??? Do we think the terrorists would not think to wait for a stormy day????

Please, someone explain the great wisdom in this program that I am missing - please!
MultiComm 1
Well I can't justify the cost BUT ... a view of the horizon from from a simple perspective (human eye) in DC is approx 10-15 miles compared to the view of the horizon from the Aerostats at 10,000 feet AGL would be somewhere around 125 miles.

Understandably, radar works on a more complex basis but the theory is the same....they higher you are the farther you can see the more time you have to react.
preacher1 1
Like I said below, at $450million a pop, and another post says there will be 2, that's $900 million and that is just a little much. Are we gonna quit flying them F16's that have been flying regular since 911? Does any of that bunch up there understand the term, WORTHLESSS, WASTEFUL, and WHO CARES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kmon George 1
sounds rediculous..publicising the top secrets ha ha ..better send emails to all the terrorists instead !!!!
I'm sure one of the uses for the aerostats will be to carry these:
chalet 1
Guys, this pair costing $ 450 per head are just prototypes paid for by the taxpayer and after three years of proving to be expensive and non-performing DOD true to form will give Raytheon an even bigger contract, does $ 2 billion sound reasonable for them to draw a bigger and more expensive toy that you and aI and every taxpayer will gladly fund even if it does not meet the alleged performance parameters. WHen this idiocy will end.
Shades of London in WW I. Does anyone really think that they will be any more effective?
These aren't barrage ballons, they are surveilance platforms.

So yeah, I think they will be more effective...
BUT, worth the $ ???


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