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back to article US Army doubles fleet of enormous floating eyes

The US Army is doubling its fleet of moored spy balloons, deployed in overseas warzones to provide continuous unblinking overwatch around fortified American camps and bases. The 74K Aerostat, as used in the PTDS System. Credit: Lockheed Giant, floating, all-seeing eyes in the sky r us Arms behemoth Lockheed Martin announced …

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Beholders, eh?

Well, a similar sort of vein, why don't we get them to call the manned version that flies around calling down air strikes...

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/22/lemv_contract_by_december/

... the "Orgrim's Hammer"?

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Grenade

... or Sitting Duck?

>pop<

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Anonymous Coward

What's that noise?

Pop!

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Bronze badge
Flame

Beacon

Also acts as a useful navigational beacon: not sure which way to point your rocket launcher? Just aim at the balloon, and the base will be right underneath!

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Joke

Re: What's that noise?

"Pop!" is a "ho-hum, new toy please" thing.

It's "sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss" that's serious...

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Coffee/keyboard

Akron's Exports

I live in Akron. Our primary exports include floaty, helium filled things, Orwellian fear based on our paranoia fueled surveillance, and crippling depression... Oh, and also Le Bron James nicknacks.

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@ lewton

I'm guessing you'd have to have an extraordinarily good aim to hit something at 1.5km up in the sky.

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If gordan get his way

One will be appering a Town near you very soon.... (Prolly mouted on a Tesco superstore)

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@Sean O'Connor

You'd also have to be quite alert, as that thing 1.5km up in the sky would have seen you and alerted a base full of trigger-happy 'merkin soldiers that's right underneath it to your position.

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Boffin

@Sean O'Connor 1

"I'm guessing you'd have to have an extraordinarily good aim to hit something at 1.5km up in the sky"

Judging by that photo, its about 40 feet high by about 100 feet long.

1.5km = 7920 feet

So its like hitting an object at a distance of 79.20 feet that looked like an object 0.4 foot high by 1 foot long. So about the size of a shoe box. That sounds very possible. (Although I doubt it would do much damage).

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one word

"So its like hitting an object at a distance of 79.20 feet that looked like an object 0.4 foot high by 1 foot long. So about the size of a shoe box. That sounds very possible. (Although I doubt it would do much damage)."

One word: wind.

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Joke

@Wonko

I never start shooting after a plate of beans, so wind isn't a problem.

Anyway, 1.5km up means you're probably 2-3 km in a straight line to the target, unless you're directly underneath the thing with a load of pissed off 'merkin soldiers.....

It's still something you could shoot at with a missile though.

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@ Wonko the Sane

One word: SAM.

If they can take out a Tornado or a Chinook with a shoulder mounted rocket, is this blimp going to pose a problem? Or is the fact that it's cold and round mean it's invisible to IR or radar? Or are SAMs cleverer than that? I know nothing about militray technology.

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Wires

Are there flashing lights on the tether wires so that the nearby helicopter won't cut/crash into the wire as they fly around trying to "kill" the rocket launcher guys detected by the blimpie?

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Nothing that a sniper rifle can't handle

The M107 12.7mm (.50 caliber) sniper rifle has an effective range of 1.8 km and a maximum range of 6.8 km. You wouldn't have any trouble hitting a blimp at altitude, even with stand-off range factored in. Poke a couple dozen holes in it and watch that blimp comes down quickly.

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Coat

No way!

I refuse to call it a "beholder" until it's capable of something like projecting illusions, putting people to sleep, or cancelling out magic at close range.

Mine's the one with the first-edition Monster Manual in the pocket.

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Boffin

@ MinionZero

That's 1.5 KILOMETERS, not miles. So 1.5 km is about 4,921 feet.

Please tell me you don't work for NASA...

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Happy

o o

<o > <o >

< o > < o >

< o> < o>

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Thumb Down

This is a wity remark about the futillity of forced titels.

"That's 1.5 KILOMETERS, not miles. So 1.5 km is about 4,921 feet.

Please tell me you don't work for NASA..."

Annnnnnnnnnnnnd another MARS probe tries to fly trough it instead of landing on it....

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Paris Hilton

WW ll Blimps

My late uncle Len played his part defeating the Hun during the Second World War by virtue

of being stationed at the end of Southend Pier in Essex UK.

The pier was acquired by the Navy and for the duration of the war it was named "HMS Leigh".

His primary task was to raise or lower the "Blimps" or anti-aircraft baloons.

An officer stationed at the start of the pier would use a hand cranked telephone to

give the required instruction. (The pier was over a mile long !)

Uncle did not find this task very daunting and became an avid sea angler.

He had to be deterred from sending parcels of fish home to South London as the postal service

was not very good. The postman took to hurling the stinking fish parcels up the drive.

Paris...well why not !

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