Army officials are using unmanned blimps geared up with networked sensors to monitor and protect troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The towers and unmanned blimps, called aerostats, worked so well at detecting and identifying enemy forces and objects that Defense Department officials want to buy more of them. "We wouldn't have gotten the funding if it wasn't successful," said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, director of Army systems management in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. Sorsenson spoke Oct. 7 at a Pentagon media briefing.
Army officials obtained $38 million in fiscal 2004 for 22 towers and aerostats for surveillance use in Iraq and Afghanistan. The 84-foot-towers and 15-meter aerostats use the Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID) system to monitor the perimeter of the service's bases there, said Col. Kurt Heine, project manager of the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor, whose program oversees the force protection effort.
The RAID system consists of towers, aerostats, sensors and an operations center. The towers and aerostats carry an electro-optical and infrared sensor that detects enemy forces and objects at day or night. The sensors obtain the images then transmit them via a radio frequency to an operations center, which sends them via a network to warfighters and analysts for review and action, Heine said.
to Federal Computer Week
And BoingBoing reader Allan Janus says,
We had an Army airship flying around the Washington DC area, testing RAID, a couple of weeks ago - I even got into trouble taking pictures of it while on the US Capitol grounds. By the way, an aerostat is a tethered balloon - they may be blimp-shaped so they're stable in the wind, though.
Richard Thompson, a cartoonist for the Washington Post, had a wonderful cartoon on the blimp - I have it on my website, since the Post doesn't put his drawings online: Link. I also posted some of my photos of the blimp, and the sorry story of my encounter with the Feds - it's at 29 September: Link
David Robinson used the data from the 28,657 people who self-selected to take the Stack Overflow survey to investigate the relationship between programmer pay and the conventions of using either tabs or spaces to mark indents, and found a persistent, significant correlation between using spaces and bringing home higher pay.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]