A US military blimp has come loose while being tested in Maryland, flying without direction to Pennsylvania, and causing serious havoc and knocking out electricity to about 30,000 homes with its tether cable which dragged on the ground behind it, Reuters reported.
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A blimp is a non-rigid airship used for observation or as a barrage balloon. But this one in question is large and very massive, built to detect missile attacks and protect the city against any such threats, including drone aircraft and swarming boats and tanks among other “surface moving targets.”
Two armed F-16 fighter jets were scrambled by the US military to monitor the blimp as it travelled into the city after its tether came off at its base at Aberdeen Proving Ground, a US Army facility 40 miles (65 km) northeast of Baltimore.
Pentagon officials are still trying to investigate why the blimp broke free from its tethers at around 12:20 pm. It eventually deflated on its own hours after the military struggled to bring it down in utmost safety.
The 242-foot-long blimp is one of $2.8 billion Army program currently ongoing in Pennsylvania.
No injuries were recorded during the event. But about 30,000 residents of Pennsylvania have been put out of power since the blimp knocked out power as it travelled.
The unfortunate incident also sparked a lot of sensation on social media, and one Twitter account gained 2,000 followers within two hours of trending the story. There were hashtags like #Blimpflood and #Blimpmemes among others.
But the military would sure not like the attention on the social media. The military said the blimp program is a Joint Land-Attack Cruise Missile Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS). There are two blimps in the program, but the second one will not be tested until the military concludes investigations into why the tethers of the first went loose.
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It was manufactured by Raytheon Co and designed to protect Washington DC’s metropolis.