Apologies Afghanistan, it appears that you will not have the pleasure of a 100-meter spy blimp floating over you, observing in detail the minutia of your citizens’ daily lives. Too bad.
Inside Defense reports that the Army’s Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) has been terminated for cost and schedule-related reasons:
The reason likely has to do with the program being behind schedule and over budget ... LEMV's fate -- particularly its intended deployment to Afghanistan -- has been in question since earlier last year. The window to send the airship to the battlefield is closing as U.S. troops prepare for a withdrawal in 2014. The airship was once scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in December 2011.
And now it’s been deflated. Just after it had logged its first successful test-float, too.
The Navy Times reports that the LEMV program cost $517 million, and the product was a seven-story blimp that may or may not be able to stay aloft for three weeks at a time; we’ll never know now, I suppose. The LEMV is the third major blimp program to get shut down, each of which cost millions and millions of dollars. It seems that this was destined to remain but a dream:
Wow, $500 million is a lot of money for a failed piece of technology. It’s the same amount of money that the government spent on Solyndra, for instance. I wonder if conservatives will go apeshit over the wasted money on a dumb blimp, too? Of course not; it was supposed to help the military spy on and kill anti-American terrorist anti-Americans, as opposed to creating clean, sustainable energy, so its heart was in the right place.
And fear not, fans of pointless giant military drone blimps: Apparently, the $2 billion missile defense blimp, Raytheon’s JLENS, is still on the table after successfully managing to blow up a missile in a test run, years behind schedule. So, yeah. Long live the multibillion dollar military blimp, I guess.