On February 4th, 2023 a balloon sent by China to drift over the United States while electronically collecting “weather data” was shot down off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina using one AIM-9X Sidewinder missile fired by an F-22 Raptor fighter from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base.
The balloon was flying at an altitude of 60,000 feet – 5,000 feet lower than an F-22 Raptor’s service ceiling – and landed in 47 feet of water within the 12-mile territorial limit of the United States.
Joe Biden’s military action against China’s balloon is the first (presumably) hostile aircraft shot down by the US Military within the United States of America since the US Air Force shot down eleven Japanese planes during Japan’s attack on U.S. Army and Navy installations at Dutch Harbor on Alaska’s Amaknak Island on June 3rd and 4th, 1942. That was over 71 years ago.
Did you know?
While the Biden Administration and the liberal media reported that three similar balloons from China infiltrated the USA during Trump’s presidency they did not reveal until after being challenged by President Trump that US Intelligence didn’t discover those three balloons until after President Trump left office.
Speaking of balloons potentially used as weapons…
During World War II Japan sent 6,000 balloons towards the USA. Code named “Project Fu-Go” (“balloon bomb”), each balloon carried an incendiary bomb designed to drop when over the United States. Over 300 balloons were reported from 1944 through April 1945, with one killing six Americans in Blye, Oregon.
In 2018 China showed a high altitude balloon carrying three “Rods of God”: Non-nuclear tungsten rods able to travel 4 to 6 times faster than the speed of sound, each having the destructive power of a nuclear bomb.
The US Army has been exploring the use of high-altitude balloons for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and communications roles since at least 2015.
The United States has had various versions of “Rods from God” since Boeing operations researcher Jerry Pournelle proposed the concept (named “Project Thor“) in the 1950′s. The general term is “Kinetic Energy Penetrators” or KEP.
Thanks for Reading!