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New Navy blimp sails over Aberdeen

It was high in the sky over Aberdeen Thursday morning, but it wasn't a bird, a plane or even Superman.

It was a U.S. Navy blimp, calmly navigating the skies as it sailed east over the town and Route 40, perhaps in the direction of Aberdeen Proving Ground.

The blimp has been seen around Aberdeen for the past couple of days and is part of Aberdeen Proving Ground's Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors.

Those who have yet to see the blimp still have a chance, as the so-called "airship" will hang around the area, literally, for an indefinite amount of time.

"The Army has obtained the use of a Navy Air Ship, which arrived at Aberdeen Proving Ground on Sept. 17 to serve as the platform for a risk reduction effort associated with the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) program," APG public affairs officer Brandon Pollachek explained via e-mail.

"By using the airship[,] the Army will be able evaluate the performance of current and future sensor payloads," Pollachek said. "The total length of time that the system will spend at APG has not been established yet."

The office in charge of the blimp is part of the Army's C4ISR division, which underwent a major expansion after BRAC.

The Navy blimp has been seen along other parts of the East Coast, as reported by various news outlets.

The PEO IEW&S office that runs it describes its mission as developing items for "life cycle support of intelligence, electronic warfare and target acquisition capabilities... operationally relevant to understanding the battlefield and enabling persistent surveillance," according to its website.

Aberdeen City Manager Doug Miller said he saw the blimp Wednesday but did not know anything about it.

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