US Military Testing Aerostat Balloons to Deter Russian Missiles

Did the cold war really end in 1989 when the Berlin Wall was torn down?

Perhaps we should think again!

The US military is now spending more money to prevent a new Cold War. According to a new report on Saturday, the Pentagon is building a missile defence shield to guard against cruise missile attacks from Russia.

Have we gone back in time to the 1950s or is it really 2015?

According to Defense One, The Department of Defense has a number of ideas on the drawing board and some ideas are being discussed in think tanks.

One idea is the purchase of radar systems that could detect low-flying Cruise missiles, headed for US cities. The radar systems could work in conjunction with National Guard fighter groups that would shoot down any missiles before they reach their target.

Another idea would see aerostat balloons hovering over cities to help detect incoming missiles. Warships docked along the coast would be another layer of defense.

Apparently some top generals, and Admiral William Gortney, who leads both U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), favor using balloons and ships.

This classified project has been revealed piecemeal by various military officials in speeches and hearings over the past 12 months.

Be careful, the walls have ears.

supersonic fighter jet
Fighter Jet

Since Vladimir Putin appears to be in an expansionist push in Eastern Europe, these ideas seem to be a defensive arrangement.

In a speech delivered last month, Admiral Sandy Winnefeld said, “We’re devoting a good deal of attention to ensuring we’re properly configured against such an attack in the homeland, and we need to continue to do so.” Adm. Winnefeld is the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The US military sees incoming cruise missiles as a credible threat. Cruise missiles can fly at high speed and low altitude. They can be launched from submarines, ships, or mobile launchers attached to trailers, Defense One said.

Residents of Aberdeen, Maryland by now should be used to seeing a surveillance balloon that has been hovering above them at around 10,000 feet. This is a “Joint Land Attack CruiMissile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor (JLENS).” This aerostat is tethered to the ground and can scan around in a 680 mile diameter circle. This balloon is part of the Pentagon’s testing of the cruise missile defense system based at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, a U.S. Army facility.

Another defense watcher organization, Defense Tech, says the Pentagon conducted tests on a system that can detect incoming cruise missiles past the normal range of radar. This was the first of its kind in almost three decades.

Thankfully the system appears to be working.

It was reported the military tested the same system, known as the Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air program, last week. It successfully intercepted a test missile fired from beyond radar range, according to a report in the Arizona Daily Star. The newspaper said the missile system was produced by Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. He has written more than 3500 national political and foreign affairs columns. His BS in journalism from the University of Oregon, with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing.


Dwight has 30-years in the publishing industry, including ABC/Cap Cities and International Thomson. His first book, “Redistribution of Common Sense – Selective Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014,” was published in July, 2014. “The Game Changer – America’s Most Stunning Presidential Election in History,” was published in April 2017.


Dwight is a native of Portland, Oregon, and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.