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News Link • Military

Check Out This Giant Spy Blimp Before the Air Force Kills It

•, By David Axe
 Down the road from the Coast Guard air station, past the copse of oak trees, surrounded by fields of leafy collard greens, in a 1,000-foot-long steel hangar built during World War II here in coastal North Carolina, the unlikely dream of an upstart military contractor is about to be literally deflated. In the hangar’s musty gloom, underneath rafters where countless birds perch and spatter the concrete floor 200 feet below with their waste, a 370-foot-long, ultra-high-tech surveillance airship floats just a foot off the ground, tethered to Earth by three metal cables each weighing three tons.

But not for long. The $211 million Blue Devil 2 airship, built for the Air Force by the tiny, Virginia-based company Mav6, is slated for dismantling and storage at the end of this week, bringing to an ignominious end a two-year saga of technological ambition, bureaucratic waffling and vicious politicking. The Air Force no longer wants Blue Devil 2 or anything like it, a reversal from its official position just two years ago on a program that a former Pentagon chief said was “urgently needed.”

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