NORAD loses surveillance blimp, F-16s scrambled to intercept [UPDATE]

This post is appearing on Autoblog Military, Autoblog's sub-site dedicated to the vehicles, aircraft and ships of the world's armed forces.

UPDATE: Foxtrot Alpha reports the blimp has finally been brought down after drifting nearly 200 miles from Maryland into Pennsylvania. Authorities are en route to the scene.

If you've happened to wander near the Internet today, you may have heard about the US military's latest mishap. You see, Uncle Sam has lost a very large, white blimp, and while it's a notable news story, the Internet, being what it is, has also been having a field day.

The blimp (like the one shown above) belongs to the North American Aerospace Defense Command's Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, or JLENS. It broke loose from its tether in Maryland earlier today and as of this writing, reports from CNN indicate that it is currently wafting through the skies near Columbia County, PA. The New Jersey Air National Guard scrambled a pair of F-16s to escort the football-field-sized blimp and clear a path for it.

The blimp is generally fitted with an auto-deflation system, although it quite obviously isn't working right now. CNN's most recent report claims the JLENS blimp is rather close to the ground, and authorities in Pennsylvania are monitoring the situation. As for the Internet, its ability to make a joke out of anything has never been stronger. Don't change, Twitter.

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