Today Congressman Jon Runyan (R-NJ) was briefed on new technology at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JB MDL) where Northrop Grumman is producing a new hybrid airship. The United States Army is developing a Long Endurance Multi-INT Vehicle (LEMV) which could prove to be revolutionary in the field of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR).
"I am impressed," stated Rep. Runyan, "with the work and technology going into this airship. This new tool in our military arsenal could truly prove to be an invaluable resource for the United States military and I am proud it is being produced here at JB MDL."
Our armed forces have used airships for many years, but only recently has the military started to envision that it could be a key resource for intelligence gathering. The LEMV will be almost a football field long and has the capability of staying above a target or area for weeks at a time. The most commonly used technology vehicles can only stay up for a short period of time. With this ability, our warfighters will have a true "eye in the sky" that will be able to be positioned anywhere. The length of time that the LEMV can stay in the air will open up the technology for use in a multitude of areas beyond ISR that will benefit our men and women fighting over seas.
"It is an open architecture design for plug-and-play flexibility, capable of being reconfigured in the field to support true multi-mission capabilities," says Alan Metzger, Northrop Grumman Vice President for LEMV & Airship Programs. The Army is planning to initially build up to three vehicles before going into production, and that could potentially bring additional jobs to Joint Base MDL and the New Jersey area to support these platforms.
"Beyond the advances in the field of ISR," explained Congressman Runyan, "the LEMV could also prove to be a cost saving measure by being able to perform the same role as 25 medium altitude fixed-wing surveillance aircrafts. If this airship is successful, the need for more of these airships could result in the creation of new jobs being brought to the area."