Two Air Force fighter jets tracked an unmanned Army surveillance blimp Wednesday that broke loose from its ground tether in Maryland and drifted north over Pennsylvania, Pentagon officials said. The North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado said the blimp detached from its station at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, at about 12:20 p.m. EDT, and was traveling at an altitude of about 16,000 feet. State police in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, confirmed they had been getting 911 calls about blimp sightings, but they could not provide additional details. The runaway blimp was causing a stir in Pennsylvania, with people tweeting photos of an object believed to be the blimp. The blimp is the kind used extensively in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to provide surveillance over U.S. bases and other sensitive sites. "My understanding is, from having seen these break loose in Afghanistan on a number of occasions, we could get it to descend and then we'll recover it and put it back up," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a brief exchange with reporters at the Pentagon. "This happens in bad weather." Carter did not say what the two F-16 fighters tracking the runaway blimp might be asked to do or whether he considered it a threat to aviation. The F-16s were launched from the Atlantic City Air National Guard Base in New Jersey, according to the NORAD statement. FAA officials were working with the military to ensure air traffic safety in the area. The aircraft is known as a Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System , or JLENS, and can be used as part of a missile defense system.wb It was not immediately clear how the blimp came loose. -- Associated Press writer Kristen De Groot in Philadelphia contributed to this report.
Fighter Jets Scrambled After Surveillance Blimp Escapes Maryland Base
You May Also Like
The Taliban took responsibility for Thursday's attack in Paktia province, calling it a “defensive action.”
Get the Military Insider Newsletter
Get the latest on pay updates, benefit changes and award-winning military content. Right in your inbox.
Just one last step.
To verify your free subscription, please check your inbox for:
Thank you for subscribing!
You may also view our other newsletters, or visit your account to manage email preferences.
Most Popular Military News
There was a campaign to stop the auction, but Germany is not subject to U.S. laws.
A soldier stationed in Kansas saved “countless lives” when he hit a man with his car as the man was shooting randomly.
It was the third time in two months that Russian aircraft have intercepted Navy aircraft in the Sixth Fleet of operations.
Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston said ACFT events can be performed while COVID-19 protocols are still in effect.
Latest Military Videos
U.S. Space Force released a new 30-second ad May 28 showing a young woman who dreams of space exploration...
U.S. Army Soldiers in 1-3rd Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade conduct flight training with 18 AH-64 Apache...
Retired U.S. Marine Corps 1st Sgt. James Freeman and his family celebrate his birthday in Hubert, North Carolina on...
Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) fire its close-in weapons system (CIWS) during...
A KC-10 Extender flown by an aircrew from the 9th Air Refueling Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, California...
A National Guard soldier serving as a Grand Forks, North Dakota, police officer was killed in a gunfight.
The heroic soldier who rammed a gunman with his truck in Kansas is a combat veteran and military police officer.
"They will be recognized," a Navy official told Military.com.
Kenneth Braithwaite was sworn in as the 77th Navy secretary, after two people in the position resigned amid controversy.
Air Force News
The chief said the song reflected a different time period and a different team.
Mark Gooch, a 21-year-old airman, has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges.
Marine Corps News
The virus is impacting training at the Marine Corps' Parris Island Recruit Depot and across the military.
The mother of a Marine who was killed in Iraq is pledging to rebuild a war memorial that was destroyed by a dam failure.
Coast Guard News
One of the detainees was mildly ill, including fever and a sore throat and was treated onboard.
Some people said the autopsy results raise questions about whether all the victims were asleep when the fire occurred.
The haul estimated to be worth about $37 million was offloaded from the Coast Guard cutter Active.