US Defence bosses are assessing the cause of an October incident in which an automated blimp escaped from its base and destroyed power lines on a senseless rampage. The 7,000lb behemoth was part of the government’s controversial aerial missile defence program, JLENS, and came free of its moorings at a base in Maryland before coming loose. Once mobile, it embarked on something of a road trip, trailed by a mile-long tether that “wreaked havoc” behind it.
The army’s report into the incident suggests it wouldn’t have happened if the pilotless blimp had had its deflation system adequately powered. Or, in short; they didn’t put in its batteries.
The blimp eventually drifted to rural Pennsylvania, where its trailing tether took out power lines supplying energy to more than 35,000 Pennsylvania residents. Fighter jets were eventually scrambled to corral the errant airship, and the entire JLENS system subsequently suspended.