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Security blimp tested in Washington skies

Associated Press | September 29 2004

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Here's a head-turner for a security-nervous city: A large white object was spotted in the skies above the nation's capital in the pre-dawn hours Wednesday.

Pentagon police said the Defense Department is testing a security blimp -- fully equipped with surveillance cameras. The white blimp was spotted early Wednesday morning hovering at various times over the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol.

The 178-foot-long device, which is expected to remain in the skies until Thursday, is conducting a mission for the Defense Department.

Authorities say the airship is equipped with infrared cameras designed to provide real-time images to military commanders on the ground. The equipment on the blimp already is being used to protect troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Army says the device will make at least one 24-hour flight in the District of Columbia area. It has been in the region since last week, and is also being used for test runs over the U.S. Marine Corps Base in nearby Quantico, Virginia, and the Chesapeake Bay.

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