Did You See It? US Navy Blimp Flying Over Toms River

dogg57

Piney
Jan 22, 2007
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Southern NJ
southjerseyphotos.com
It was flying low enough to read the words "US NAVY" from the ground, when at 9:20 a.m. June 11 onlookers had the unusual chance to spot a military blimp overhead in Toms River.
A Public Affairs employee at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst confirmed that the MZ-3A airship which is moored at US Naval Air Station disbursed early this morning out of Lakehurst and was flying within focal range.
The airship passed overhead against the backdrop of cloudy gray skies and 70-degree temperatures.
According to the Navy Times, the MZ-3A is the Navy’s scientific test platform for surveillance cameras, radars and other sensors, and won’t be deployed outside the United States. But it’s very significant as a return to an older technology, and there have been two years of testing “to prove LTA [lighter-than-air] has a place in our military construct,” said Cmdr. Jay Steingold, the commanding officer of Scientific Development Squadron One, in the Navy Times.
The airship is a modified A-170 built by the American Blimp Corp., capable of flying at up to 10,000 feet and cruising at around 50 mph. The Navy began the project in 2006 “to use it as a flying laboratory. The airship is a good platform because it’s very stable, and easy to take things on and off,” Huett said. “A lot of times you want to go slow.”

http://tomsriver.patch.com/articles/us-navy-blimp-toms-river#photo-10275656
 

DeepXplor

Explorer
Nov 5, 2008
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Jersey Shore
Here is a picture of the Blimp flying over my home. I see it over the bay at least twice a week, weather permitting. They have a much larger
P1030105.JPG
Blimp at Lakehurst that they are getting it ready for test flights.
 

dogg57

Piney
Jan 22, 2007
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Southern NJ
southjerseyphotos.com
Just a little more of a Update
At Lakehurst's historic Hangar 1, made famous by the fiery Hindenburg disaster nearby 75 years ago, another airship is waiting to take off on its next mission.
While aloft, the manned 178-foot-long Navy blimp - emblazoned with red, white, and blue rudder stripes - has drawn
wide-eyed stares from onlookers across Philadelphia's suburbs and along the Jersey Shore over the last several months.
The MZ-3A's testing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is part of the U.S. military's renewed interest in airships, known for their ability to stay airborne for long periods and land without runways.
"Over the past decade, as drones have gained favor in identifying and sometimes engaging enemy forces, an 'old-new' concept has also reappeared - the observation dirigible," said Guillaume de Syon, an aviation historian, author, and professor at Albright College in Reading.
The military is mulling the role of airships in long-term surveillance, intelligence gathering, communications, and research.

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/n...ips_are_taking_off_again.html?cmpid=124488469
 
"Over the past decade, as drones have gained favor in identifying and sometimes engaging enemy forces, an 'old-new' concept has also reappeared - the observation dirigible," said Guillaume de Syon, an aviation historian, author, and professor at Albright College in Reading.

Gee—you would think a professor and “aviation historian” would know the difference between a blimp and a dirigible! What a revoltin’ development this is!! Albright? Perhaps Not-too-Bright.

Jerseyman
 
Gee—you would think a professor and “aviation historian” would know the difference between a blimp and a dirigible! What a revoltin’ development this is!! Albright? Perhaps Not-too-Bright.

Jerseyman
A blimp is an oversized sandwich-often served on stale rolls. A dirigible-thanks to spicy ingredients-is an oversize sandwich that gets you movin'.
 

Boyd

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Jul 31, 2004
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Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
I thought of this thread when I read today's Wall St Journal, although these are smaller blimps: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443404004577581751184540464.html

From Battlefield to the Border

Blimps Used in Afghanistan Tested to Monitor Aliens, Drug Runners From Mexico

By DION NISSENBAUM

The U.S. military is joining with border-patrol officials in a new initiative that could bring dozens of surveillance blimps from the battlefields of Afghanistan to America's border with Mexico.

Over the next few weeks, the military will oversee a test in south Texas to determine if a 72-foot-long, unmanned surveillance blimp—sometimes called "the floating eye" when used to spot insurgents in Afghanistan—can help find drug runners and people trying to cross illegally into the U.S.

The project is part of a broader attempt by U.S. officials to establish a high-tech surveillance network along the border and find alternative uses for expensive military hardware that will be coming back from Afghanistan, along with the troops.

_______________


For years, specialized, helium-filled blimps have floated above Kabul and scores of U.S. military bases across Afghanistan and Iraq. Equipped with sophisticated cameras, infrared sensors and other detection equipment, the small blimps often float 2,000 feet over an area to keep a round-the-clock watch. They have been used to monitor militants planning attacks, insurgents planting roadside bombs and troops in battle.

The blimps, which can be a quarter of the size of the 192-foot-long Goodyear blimp, have become an increasingly valuable tool for soldiers, who are able to monitor the information from the nearby bases.

Now that the American bases in Afghanistan are being shut down, the blimps—which can cost $1 million to $5 million each—will be part of the massive flow of equipment leaving that country over the next two years.

U.S. border officials already make use of other battlefield equipment, including unarmed Predator drones and another type of blimp that keeps watch for airplanes. The new blimps would be mobile platforms meant to keep watch on what is happening on the ground.

In south Texas, the military and border officials are trying out a 72-foot-long blimp made by TCOM LP of Columbia, Md. The blimp, which includes a battlefield sensor, is tethered to the ground by a cable that provides a communications link. Later this month, the test will expand to include another blimp equipped with different sensors.

This spring, border officials conducted a test in Arizona of a yet another blimp that was fitted with a battlefield camera known as Kestrel, a system created by Logos Technologies Inc. of Fairfax, Va., that is capable of continuously monitoring a city-sized area of land for days at a time.

Such cameras have been credited with helping U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan pinpoint insurgent attackers and avoid hidden bombs, said John Marion, director of the company's persistent-surveillance division.
 
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