Thar She Floats!

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The Army has finally got its football-field-sized Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) airborne over the Jersey coast. The huge unmanned spy platform is designed to give the U.S. military “more than 21 days of unblinking stare,” contractor Northrop Grumman says.

Not all of its numbers are so stupendous: it boasts a loiter speed of 30 knots, and a dash speed of 80. Price tag: $517 million for “up to” three of the craft — $172 million a pop.

The contractor boasts that its relatively simple design “means we will fly in theater in 2012,” but testing has dragged on. Glancing at the calendar, not sure if that refers to Afghanistan or one of the local cinemas near its home base at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.