The Intercept publishes details on Maryland's other surveillance blimp - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Apr. 25, 2017 12:40 pm

The Intercept publishes details on Maryland’s other surveillance blimp

This one was called the Hover Hammer. The NSA tested it in 2004 and it was able to collect shipping data all the way from New York.

NSA headquarters at Fort Meade.

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Most people knew about the surveillance blimp at Aberdeen Proving Ground. It was visible from Baltimore, and attracted international attention after fleeing to Pennsylvania.

Turns out, it wasn’t the only inflated eye in the sky above Maryland, nor was it the first.

According to The Intercept, the NSA tested a blimp at an airfield near Solomons Island in Southern Maryland back in 2004. It’s the latest revelation to be published from the site’s “Snowden Archive.”

Read the full story

This blimp is called the Hover Hammer, and is described as a “sphere inside another sphere,” and is made of a material used to make bulletproof vests.

As for surveillance, it was outfitted with a device that could intercept international shipping data from Long Island in New York, The Intercept reports. There were also plans to conduct experiments with onboard imagery sensors.

While it’s unclear what happened with the blimp, the document itself contains some catchy marketing: “It’s got dual airbags, three engines and one of the most sophisticated audio systems around. No, it’s not the latest sports car from Europe — it’s Hover Hammer, a steerable airship that may become one of the mutliINT platforms of the future.”

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