The Army’s football-field-size robot spy blimp finally took to the air for the first time Tuesday at a military base in Lakehurst, New Jersey. The 90-minute first flight of the Long-Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle, manufactured by aerospace giant Northrop Grumman, is only the beginning of a months-long test program, but it’s still good news. For years the Pentagon had tried and failed to get next-generation airships off the ground.
“The first flight primary objective was to perform a safe launch and recovery with a secondary objective to verify the flight control system operation,” Army spokesman John Cummings said in a statement. “Additional first flight objectives included airworthiness testing and demonstration, and system level performance verification.”
“All objectives were met during the first flight,” Cummings added.