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The U.S. Army has launched the debut flight of its massive Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV), a souped-up blimp designed to fly continuously for 21 days and provide full surveillance of an area.
The LEMV was launched Tuesday from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey. The test flight lasted about 90 minutes.
The all-seeing airship is longer than football field and taller than a seven-story building, according to maker Northrop Grumman. Its shape separates the 21st-century "hybrid air vehicle," as Northrop Grumman calls it, from the blimps that have flown over sporting events for decades.
He says the Army will benefit from the LEMV because just a handful of these airships will be able to do what no other monitoring system can do. They can stay up in the air for long periods of time and can cover a significant area of ground. And the LEMV will not only be able to scan the ground for insurgents, but it may also have other uses, like hauling supplies and precious cargo to troops.