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    All Hail the Football Field-Sized Drone Blimp That Will Soon Be Spying on Everyone

    Written by

    Brian Merchant

    It’s huge, Orwellian, and it lethargically creeps across the New Jersey sky. It’s the Long-Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle, and eventually, it will be used to spy on the enemies of the United States of America—if the funding for a whole fleet comes through. Might I also mention that it is the size of a football field, can stay aloft for three weeks straight, and requires no crew to pilot it?

    It is, in other words, the biggest, slowest, and most cargo hauling-est drone ever built. Watch it hover over the Garden State, where it completed a test run last week. And then watch it take off:

    And then despair. For the military’s giant spy blimp will surely one day rule us all. Here’s Wired:

    More than 300 feet from tip to tail, the airship’s goal is to hover for three entire weeks at a time in surveillance mode — in addition to its prowess at hauling cargo. And the LEMV burns a tenth as much fuel as a traditional, heavier-than-air airplane for the same task. It can carry video cameras, radars, electronic eavesdroppers and radio datalinks for transmitting information to analysts on the ground.

    Imagine how demoralizing it would be if to watch this behemoth float over your tiny Afghan village, recording your every move as its steely eye drifts overhead. It’s also reassuring to know that at a time when the top presidential candidate is calling to cut healthcare services and aid to the poor to shore up the deficit, we still have plenty of cash left in the coffers for giant military spy blimps.

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