Update: NORAD Confirms Blimp Secure

Update: NORAD has confirmed the blimp is down.

Two Air Force F-16s from the Atlantic City National Guard in New Jersey scrambled to catch a flyaway blimp-shaped balloon currently floating at 16,000 feet over Pennsylvania on Wednesday afternoon.

The balloon got loose from its mooring at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland.

“NORAD officials are working closely with the FAA to ensure air traffic safety, as well as with our other interagency partners to address the safe recovery of the aerostat (balloon),” NORAD said in a statement.

The Defense Department has invested $2.55 billion in the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System — or JLENS for short. The system is designed to protect the eastern seaboard from missiles and large drones via radar (domestic or otherwise).

The tether from the blimp snapped powerlines cutting off power to 20,000 citizens. According to regional ultility PPL. Even Bloomsburg University had to shut down for the day. The school sent out a tweet explaining that all classes have been canceled for the day due to a university-wide power outage.

What else does this program spy on?