Four months after its formal acceptance by the Navy, the MZ-3A airship at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., is now to be deflated and stored, and the program suspended amid the overall search to save money in the Defense Department.
“It is being deflated. It’s not that we have a lack of funding. We have a lack of mission,” said Doug Abbotts, a spokesman at the Naval Air Systems Command center at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
News of the decision left program supporters crestfallen.
“We’ve heard rumors. ... This is very disappointing to us,” said Carl Jablonski, president of the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society. The group includes Navy veterans who served during the era of Cold War blimp patrols, and they helped train the MZ-3A contract crew.
9:54AM, 2 March 2012 PDT