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Giant blimp that flew over Pennsylvania loses funding

The runaway blimp from October 2015 is part of a program that recently lost a significant portion of its funding.

The blimp is seen floating over Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania on Wednesday afternoon. ThesRhame Eyer (left) and Susan Switzer (right)/Courtesy of Lebanon Daily News

The high-tech military blimp that became unmoored and created a path of damage through Pennsylvania may soon bedeflated for good after its federal funding was cut in the new U.S. budget.

The blimp, designed to operate as part of an advanced radar system, became a national laughingstock after its float through the countryside in October, was created by the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS).

RELATED: Runaway naval blimp knocks out power lines in Central Pa.

Thenew federal reduces the program's funding to $10 million, $30 million less than was asked for by President Obama, CBS reported.

GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabeefamously blasted the blimp in a debate: "What we had was something the government made — basically a bag of gas — that cut loose, destroyed everything in its path, left thousands of people powerless, but they couldn't get rid of it because we had too much money invested in it. So, we had to keep it. That is our government today. We saw it in a blimp."

The JLENS blimp detached fromAberdeen Proving Groundin Maryland in October and floated into Pennsylvania, dragging a 6,700-foot tether.

Approximately 30,000 people lost power as the tether ripped through power lines, before it eventually landed in the rural area of Montour County.

The blimp is part of an experimental radarprogram started in 1998, which has been criticizedas a boondoggle.

The Maryland blimp was reportedly designedto detect cruise missile attacks on the Washington, D.C., region and provides a 340-mile over-the-horizon view of incoming air traffic.

 

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