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Defense Department Tests Blimp

By Fred Barbash and Carol Morello
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, September 29, 2004; 7:02 AM

Yes, there was a strange blimpy object flying over some government buildings in Washington before dawn this morning.

But no, it's nothing to worry about. It's on our side.


Throughout the week, the 178-foot-long blimp will conduct tests designed to determine how effective electro-optical and infrared cameras are at detecting potentially threatening movements on the ground. (Stephen J. Boitano - AP)

_____From the Post_____
Army Floats a Trial Balloon (The Washington Post, Sep 25, 2004)

It was, in fact, a blimp.

The Army has leased it from the nation's only airship manufacturer and outfitted it with sensors and cameras.

Throughout the week, the 178-foot-long lighter-than-air craft will conduct test runs over the Washington area designed to determine how effective electro-optical and infrared cameras aboard are at detecting potentially threatening movements on the ground.

The equipment already is used in Iraq and Afghanistan to identify enemy troop movement, but in combat zones it is attached to a static inflatable device that looks like a giant, blimp-shaped balloon.


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