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He was the Air Force’s spy chief. Then he went straight to a firm selling spy gear. Now he’s in trouble.
The U.S. Air Force’s influential former intelligence chief has agreed to pay a $125,000 fine to settle a lawsuit brought by the Justice Department. At issue: a drone blimp the size of a football field, designed to spy on an entire town in a single pass.
The federal government brought a civil lawsuit over allegations that retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula —who at the time was the chief executive officer for a defense startup called MAV6—violated federal laws that prohibit conflicts of interest. Before he left the Pentagon, Deptula had enormous sway over the U.S. military’s aerial surveillance programs. And Blue Devil Block II, as MAV6’s giant spy blimp was known, was one hell of an aerial surveillance effort. The Justice Department accused him of trading on his old connections to get the blimp off the ground, if you’ll forgive the pun.
“From June 2011 to July 2012, while serving as CEO of Mav6, Deptula engaged in communications or appearances on behalf of Mav6 before United States’ officers regarding a U.S. military defense program known as Blue Devil Block II,” reads a statement released by the Justice Department, referring to the giant spy blimp project. “[Blue Devil II is a] program in which the United States contends Deptula participated personally and substantially while he was with the Air Force.”
As part of the settlement, Deptula agreed to pay a fine totaling $125, 000, but did not admit any liability. “The civil penalty claims settled by Deptula and the United States are allegations only; there has been no determination of civil liability,” the Justice Department statement reads.
The airship that’s attracted the senators’ attention is known as Blue Devil Block 2. At 370 feet long and 1.4 million cubic feet fat, it is one of the largest blimps built in this country since World War II. All that size allows it to stay in the air for days at a time at 20,000 feet. And it enables the airship to carry an enormous array of cameras and eavesdropping gear — enough to keep tabs on at least four square kilometers at a time. No other singular eye in the sky could track insurgents for so far around.
originally posted by: Bhadhidar
At twenty thousand feet, a big white blimp would be virtually invisible to the naked eye.
With the proper optics, you might be able to see something that looks like a high cloud, but you would have to know Exactly where and when to look for it;
As for being shot down; how?
Even if someone did spot the thing, not many surface to air systems have the range to hit it.