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How US shot down China’s ‘spy balloon’ with a single missile – and what was likely on it

The US military launched an operation to destroy a Chinese spy balloon that was hovering in American airspace. This came at a difficult time for both superpowers, whose relations have been rocky for many years.

How did the US manage to bring it down with one missile ? And what intelligence is the team now looking for in the wreckage of the attack?

The United States believes that the Chinese are lying about the purpose of the balloon and is conducting an extensive underwater search to locate it.

China previously stated that it was used to conduct meteorological research. However, it lost its way due to high winds and was unable to correct itself.


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How the US smashed China’s spy balloon

The Pentagon claims that the balloon was carrying sensors and surveillance equipment and was maneuverable. It landed in sensitive areas of Montana , where nuclear warheads can be found.

The balloon was seen over Kansas City, and then York County. Take responsibility. You will see what goes up, even your bullets.

How the US brought down the balloon

It is remarkable that the US military was capable of shooting the balloon down using just one missile.

Because they aren’t strong enough to explode them, missiles can often pass right through balloons.

The 1998 Arctic meteorological balloon was not brought down by American, British, or Canadian forces.

The Canadian air force put more than 1,000 20mm cannon shells into the balloon, but it did not deflate.

Professor Michael Clarke, Sky’s security and defence analyst, said that “they are designed to hit something strong.”

“It is a sign of confidence and ingenuity that one missile can accomplish this feat.”

Image Map showing the location of the balloon and the US Malmstrom Air Force Base

It could have been fused to explode within three seconds of it being fired or it could have been ignited by higher pressure. It was not a case where “trial and error” was used.

F-15 Eagle jets of Massachusetts were present during the military operation. This was likely to deter “nosy countries” who wanted to “have another look,” said Prof Clarke.

“It is possible that the Russians, Chinese or some other country would fly a few aircraft to observe and be suspicious of what was happening.”

According to the Pentagon, a second balloon was spotted in the sky above Latin America.

Watch: Future Wars – Could there ever have been a conflict between the US & China?

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Image Could a US/China War be Possible?

Insulting America: Why China launched a spy balloon

Prof Clarke says it is a relic from the Cold War era spying.

In retaliation to America’s announcement that it would reopen military bases within the Philippines, he said that it was possible “somebody in Beijing thought this would be a good Idea”.

He said that the move was intended to “insult Americans”.

In fact, the US was so upset that Antony Blinken, secretary of state, abruptly cancelled a highly-anticipated trip from Beijing.

Continue reading:

China threatens more action after the downing of the balloon

What is the role of spy balloons?

The puzzled theories behind China’s “spy balloon”

Image Photo: Chad Fish via the AP

Prof Clarke stated that “they have lost control of the issue because they are totally in the wrong now.”

“They violated airspace. It’s been shot down. Surveillance equipment will be recovered, I am sure, and it will prove to be surveillance equipment. So they will be proven to have been lying.

“And they’ve lost their Blinken visit for the moment. But the Blinken visit will continue, but it may be delayed for a few months.

They are wrong, and Americans can profit as much from this as they wish.”

It’s not the first Chinese spy balloon to enter foreign airspace. Three similar incidents occurred during Trump’s administration, but received relatively little media attention.

Image The route of the spy balloon from China to Canada, over the Aleutian Islands and into Montana

China would have ‘wiped’ spy balloon remotely

Prof Clarke said that it is unlikely that the US would be concerned about the intelligence the balloon was gathering.

He said, “Missile Fields in Montana are sensitive facilities. There are many military facilities around there.”

Satellites can provide information about what is happening there, but it’s not possible to get a better view of it. They are sensitive but there is nothing new there.

American aircraft started circling the balloon immediately after it appeared. They would have been using military equipment to “download whatever the Chinese had, or to interfere with it somehow”.

He said, “You have an airplane that is circling 10,000ft under the balloon. You are in a position either to jam all its signals or simply to suck out whatever it has,”

“The unwritten tale of this little fiasco, [which] will be out in the subsequent months, [is] the electronic war that took place when the balloon drifted over Montana.”

He said that it was probable that China would wipe the spy balloon clean, so the US won’t likely recover much software.

The hardware will instead prove that the Chinese used listening and monitoring devices as well as communication signals and intelligence devices. They will be able prove that this was not a weather balloon.

These devices will prove that the Chinese are lying behind their back teeth by revealing what they have done.

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The movements and location of the Chinese spy balloon

What now?

It is probable that President Joe Biden will need the balloon to be recovered before he delivers his State of the Union Address on Tuesday.

So far, Biden has been relatively silent on the matter and made only a brief statement about it during his arrival at Camp David.

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“They successfully took it down”

Prof Clarke stated, “I would be shocked if he doesn’t use this on Tuesday to show what kind of president he really is.”

He isn’t demonstrative or hysterical. He just gets the job done.


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