Blimps could play a key role in homeland security, say military researchers, who envision dirigibles hovering over Washington, protecting the region. During last fall's sniper crisis, in fact, the military tried to deploy a blimp with sensors capable of spotting a flash from a firearm's muzzle. [...]
The Office of Naval Research, based in Arlington, is advocating the use of sensor-equipped airships for various missions, including detecting chemical attacks, tracking submarines or other underwater threats, identifying military targets for attack, aiding in search-and-rescue operations and finding drug laboratories. [...]
The demonstration featured the Littoral Airborne Sensor Hyperspectral (LASH) system, a sensor that detects minute color shifts that the human eye cannot see. [...] Last October, Navy teams outfitted a blimp with a sniper-detection system known as VIPER to help find the shooters terrorizing the Washington area. "We were doing the initial checkouts when they caught the guys," Huett said. Equipped with LASH, radar and other sensors, two or three blimps could provide constant surveillance over the Washington area, Huett said.
Fatherland Security will rule the skies with Zeppelins! Oh yes!
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