Chinese Balloon Shot Down by F-22 After Days Traversing the U.S.


Brandon Level

A Chinese surveillance balloon was shot down on February 4th, at around 60,000 feet by an F-22 six miles off the coast of South Carolina. This came after days of collecting information about Alaska, Canada, and the continental United States.

The surveillance balloon became a spectacle on social media as it traversed the U.S. It went viral on Twitter and citizens would post pictures of the balloon when it was visible from the ground.

Downed in U.S. airspace, the balloon was around the size of three average-sized school buses, or 60 meters.

Come Monday, China took accountability for the balloon but claimed it was not used for spying, and that it was a weather balloon.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said the incident tested “the US’s sincerity in stabilizing and improving Sino-US relations.” “The US deliberately exaggerated and hyped [the incident] and even used military force to attack. This is unacceptable and irresponsible.”
Those in contrast, say that the balloon could be used to take pictures as a satellite would, and collect various information on U.S. military and government operations. Notably, the balloon hovered over the U.S. missile silos in Montana, allegedly collecting information about our nuclear capabilities.

Professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder said, “A spy balloon is literally a gas-filled balloon that is flying quite high in the sky, more or less where we fly commercial airplanes. It has some sophisticated cameras and imaging technology on it, and it’s pointing all of those instruments down at the ground. It’s collecting information through photography and other imaging of whatever is going on down on the ground below it.”
Some are claiming that the Biden Administration failed to protect the American people by not shooting down the balloon earlier, when the balloon entered U.S. airspace on January 28 north of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, according to a senior military official.

Accounts like the @TrumpWarRoom on Twitter were bold in their calling to shoot down the balloon as it flew over Montana, Idaho, and the central U.S. captioning a picture of the surveillance device with “SHOOT DOWN THE BALLOON!!”

Senators, Representatives, state governments, and other notable accounts also made calls to shoot down the balloon earlier and chastised the administration for failing to do so.
Biden claimed that he ordered the military to shoot down the balloon. “Once it came over the Uni- into the United States from Canada, I told the Defense Department I wanted to shoot it down as soon as it was appropriate.”

The Biden Administration has said, “They concluded we should not shoot it down over land, it was not a serious threat, and we should wait until it got across the water.”

The Pentagon continues to insist that China didn’t collect any information that would be of major value to them. “We did not assess that it presented a significant collection hazard beyond what already exists in actionable technical means from the Chinese,” said Gen. Glenn VanHerck, the commander of US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), on Monday.

“Crews have been able to recover significant debris from the site, including all of the priority sensor and electronics pieces identified as well as large sections of the structure,” the U.S. military’s Northern Command said in a statement.
In the coming weeks and months, declassified information regarding the surveillance balloon may come out, along with information about what happened concerning the shooting down of the balloon.