At Lakehurst‘s historic Hangar 1, made famous by the fiery Hindenburg disaster nearby 75 years ago, another airship is waiting to take off on its next mission.
While aloft, the manned 178-foot-long Navy blimp – emblazoned with red, white, and blue rudder stripes – has drawn wide-eyed stares from onlookers across Philadelphia’s suburbs and along the Jersey Shore over the last several months.
The MZ-3A‘s testing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is part of the U.S. military’s renewed interest in airships, known for their ability to stay airborne for long periods and land without runways.
“Over the past decade, as drones have gained favor in identifying and sometimes engaging enemy forces, an ‘old-new’ concept has also reappeared – the observation dirigible,” said Guillaume de Syon, an aviation historian, author, and professor at Albright College in Reading.
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