A Chinese Spy Balloon?

Shoot it down?

  • Yes, Fighter

    Votes: 7 77.8%
  • Yes, ADA

    Votes: 1 11.1%
  • No

    Votes: 1 11.1%

  • Total voters

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Thing is, we need something that will poke a small hole in it so it descends slow enough that it is in one piece when it hits the ground.

The JCS nixed shooting down, saying the falling debris could do harm. In a heavily populated area like Montana, the pieces could hit a moose or something. And it probably has materials that have been found to cause cancer in the State of California; just about everything does.
Apparently the balloon is not at a particularly high altitude. It is moving along at 55,000-60,000 ft, depending on the air pressure in the area. An F-15 flying light could probably gun it down if necessary.

It also was just reported by the Pentagon hat it has the ability to slowly change its course to some degree over a period of time.
In WWII the Japanese launched 15,000 balloon attacks on the US mainland. Here is what I believe to be the definitive work on the subject. This book is one of the Smithsonian Annals of Flight series and is available for free on the Internet: Smithsonian Annals of Flight


  • SmithsonianballoonAttacksBook.pdf
    26.7 MB · Views: 21
Seems likely that the plunging Arctic air mass bringing frigid temperatures far south into the US unexpectedly carried the balloon along. No biggie.

And the USA has no spy devices over China? I have a bridge to sell ya.

Pretty sure ours are in orbit, which isn't really sovereign territory, unlike airspace.

Mind you, we lost a P-3 in disputed airspace while doing ELINT about 20 years ago near the Chinese coast. It got rammed by a Chinese fighter. If you would like an equivalence you may wish to consider that.

Of course we do strategic recon. We have the good sense nowadays to put it in space, where national boundaries don't matter.
Reports of a smoke trial resembling a missile launch and a massive explosion over Montana. The governor of the state says he does not know what it was yet. But since the China Spy Balloon was last reported over Kansas it must have not been associated with the explosion.

Prior to the U-2 we used balloons to spy on the USSR. When the U-2 was found out it was described as a "civilian weather research flight."

A friend of mine was a Public Affairs Officer in the USAF in the 50's and was supporting a visit by journalists to a USAF base in Turkey and received word that a U-2 was going to be landing. They knew better than to rush the reporters inside so they could not see it and were careful to not call attention to it. But my friend noted that one reporter turned around and took a photo of the U-2 as it landed. A little while later he went up to the reporter and said he was sorry but he just found out that one of the aircraft they had shown them earlier on the other side of the runway had some classified hardware and he was going to have to ask for the film he had. The reporter said he understood and gave him the film that had the U-2 on it, without realizing what the real classified item was.

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