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Suspected Chinese language ‘spy balloon’ shot down by US fighter jet over sea



A Chinese language balloon that was travelling over the US, together with over navy websites, was shot down by a fighter jet on 4 February


6 February 2023

A US fighter jet shot down a suspected Chinese language surveillance balloon on 4 February. It had been flying throughout the US, together with over delicate navy bases.

The incident has raised worldwide tensions, main US secretary of state Antony Blinken to postpone a deliberate go to to China.

The balloon entered Alaskan airspace on 28 January and flew south over Canada earlier than returning to US airspace over Idaho on 31 January.

The US claims the balloon was on an intelligence-gathering mission, travelling over quite a few delicate navy websites together with missile silos. China claims the balloon was for meteorological remark and had merely blown off beam.

US officers say comparable balloons flew over the US at the very least 3 times throughout Donald Trump’s presidency and as soon as earlier in Joe Biden’s, however this flight was the longest in period and it’s the first time particulars have been made public.

This Chinese language balloon drifted right down to the ocean after being hit by a missile off the coast of South Carolina on 4 February

Randall Hill/Reuters

Additionally they say that comparable balloons have been noticed over international locations in Asia and Europe, whereas one other is passing over Central and South America – current sightings of it have been revamped Costa Rica and Venezuela.

Biden gave orders on Wednesday 1 February for the navy to shoot down the balloon, nevertheless it was a number of days earlier than it may very well be introduced down with out danger to civilians.

The balloon was ultimately destroyed by a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor jet from Langley Air Drive Base in Virginia simply off the coast of South Carolina. The plane fired a single AIM-9X missile from an altitude of almost 18,000 metres (58,000 ft) on the balloon, which had been travelling at a peak of 18,000 to 19,800 metres.

“Shooting the balloon down addressed the surveillance threat posed to military installations and further neutralised any intelligence value it could have produced, preventing it from returning to the PRC [People’s Republic of China],” stated an unnamed senior defence official on 4 February. “In addition, shooting the balloon down could enable the US to recover sensitive PRC equipment.”

Groups from the US Navy and FBI are actually working to get well the wreckage, which got here down in water solely 15 metres deep, however unfold out throughout an space spanning 11 kilometres.

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