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Chinese Surveillance Balloons and other 'foreign' drones operating over the US


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"Biden says that he was not informed about the balloon until Wednesday, well after it had transversed both Alaska and Canada, where it could have been shot down over uninhabited territory quite easily — and should have been shut down as soon as it entered Alaskan airspace," he said.

"If that is indeed true, then I think that the President of the United States has reason to dismiss the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs for not briefing him on a critical national security threat," Chang asserted.

 

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Well the Canadian defense minister said it was a "cylindrical" object. Which might just mean a cylindrical balloon, or some kind of missile, or one of those "Tic Tacs" which were making the rounds a couple years ago.

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February 12, 2023 10:13 AM GMT+1 Last Updated an hour ago

U.S. fighter jet shoots down unidentified cylindrical object over Canada

By Phil Stewart, Idrees Ali and Steve Scherer

WASHINGTON/OTTAWA, Feb 11 (Reuters) - A U.S. F-22 fighter jet shot down an unidentified cylindrical object over Canada on Saturday, the second such instance in as many days, as North America appeared on edge following a week-long Chinese spying balloon saga that drew the global spotlight.

Separately, the U.S. military also scrambled fighter jets in Montana to investigate a radar anomaly that triggered a brief federal closure of airspace.

"Those aircraft did not identify any object to correlate the radar hits," the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said in a statement.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first announced Saturday's shootdown over the northern Yukon territory, saying Canadian forces would recover and analyze the wreckage.

Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand declined to speculate about the origin of the object, which she said was cylindrical in shape.

She stopped short of calling it a balloon but said it was smaller than the Chinese balloon shot down off South Carolina's coast a week ago, though similar in appearance.

Aloft at 40,000 feet (12,200 m), it posed a risk to civilian air traffic and was shot down at 3:41 EST (2041 GMT), she added.

"There is no reason to believe that the impact of the object in Canadian territory is of any public concern," Anand told a news conference.

[...]

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-still-gives-no-details-about-alaska-ufo-new-object-seen-over-canada-2023-02-11/

 

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China certainly can't afford a UFO shootdown gap.

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China Spots Unidentified Object Flying Near Port City: Paper

Phila Siu

Sun, February 12, 2023 at 12:30 PM GMT+1

(Bloomberg) -- China is getting ready to take down an unidentified object spotted flying over waters near the port city of Qingdao, The Paper reported.

An employee at the marine development authority of Qingdao’s Jimo district said “relevant authorities” are preparing to bring down the object, the report said. The employee was not informed what the object was.

The person said fishermen in the area have been told to be careful about safety, the report added.

The US and Canada brought down three high-altitude airborne objects this month, including one Washington said was sent deliberately by China for surveillance. Beijing countered that it was a harmless weather-monitoring device that blew off course.

https://news.yahoo.com/china-spots-unidentified-object-flying-113000791.html

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4 hours ago, BansheeOne said:

Well the Canadian defense minister said it was a "cylindrical" object. Which might just mean a cylindrical balloon, or some kind of missile, or one of those "Tic Tacs" which were making the rounds a couple years ago.

If it really is something (and not just hypoxic hallucinating Air Force pilots from their malfunctioning oxygen systems) it might be some kind of constellation of stratospheric blimps or airships. The US uses RC-135 Rivet Joint, maybe that's the Chinese SIGINT equivalent to that.

The fact that they're suddenly getting identified and shot down could just be a result of recalibrated radars. Maybe no one really was looking for very slow, low RCS, low doppler-shift contacts at these altitudes. 

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10 minutes ago, Dawes said:

Maybe a World War I zeppelin could be a stealth recon/bomber platform today.

WWI Zeppelins had a 20,000ft ceiling.

There is a Chinese airship that recently went up to 9,000m, about 30,000ft: https://english.cas.cn/newsroom/mutimedia_news/202205/t20220516_305463.shtml

Problem with lighter than air craft is that air density decreases with altitude, so one needs bigger and bigger balloons the higher one wants to to.

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It's an octagon!

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US fighter jets shoot down ‘octagonal object’ near Canada border

Flying object was the fourth to be shot down over North America by the military in eight days.

13 Feb 2023

United States fighter jets have shot down an “unidentified object” flying near the Canadian border in the Midwest, the Pentagon said, the latest incident since a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon put North American security forces on high alert.

The object was flying at 6,100 metres (20,000ft), and while it was not a military threat, it could have potentially interfered with domestic air traffic, Pentagon spokesperson Patrick Ryder said in a statement.

It was shot down at 2:42pm local time (19:42 GMT) over Lake Huron on the US-Canada border, the statement said.

It was the third to be shot down over North America in as many days and the fourth in just more than a week.

The flurry of defence activity began in late January when a white balloon appeared over the US and hovered over the country for days. The US said it was a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon and fighter jets eventually brought it down off the coast of South Carolina on February 4.

The latest object appeared to be octagonal in structure, with strings hanging from it but no discernible payload, an official told reporters.

It had been detected over Montana near sensitive military sites, prompting the closure of US airspace, the Pentagon said.

Not ruling out aliens

US Air Force General Glen VanHerck, who is responsible for the protection of US airspace, told reporters that the military had not been able to identify what the three most recent objects are, how they stay aloft, or where they are coming from.

“We’re calling them objects, not balloons, for a reason,” said VanHerck, head of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and Northern Command.

VanHerck said he would not rule out aliens or any other explanation.

“I’ll let the intel community and the counterintelligence community figure that out,” he said.

[...]

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/2/13/us-fighter-jets-shoot-down-octagonal-object-near-canada-border

This one actually sounds like a "figure" balloon which shed its basket/payload/anchor and got away to an altitude it wasn't supposed to go.

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18 hours ago, Der Zeitgeist said:

If it really is something (and not just hypoxic hallucinating Air Force pilots from their malfunctioning oxygen systems) it might be some kind of constellation of stratospheric blimps or airships. The US uses RC-135 Rivet Joint, maybe that's the Chinese SIGINT equivalent to that.

The fact that they're suddenly getting identified and shot down could just be a result of recalibrated radars. Maybe no one really was looking for very slow, low RCS, low doppler-shift contacts at these altitudes. 

What I said earlier, now from the DoD. It's all about radar clutter and looking for stuff that was previously filtered out. Looks like the Chinese found a gap in NORAD observation capabilities and filled it with surprisingly stealthy, cheap and easily produced platforms.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/fighters-shoot-down-object-over-lake-huron

Quote

-They are small and produce a very radar low radar cross-section, going at speed of the wind. It is a challenging to gain descriptions of them due to speed of fighters [strange statement as the fighters carry advanced targeting pods].

-Radars filter out information based on clutter, such as low-speed clutter. They have adjusted some of those filter 'gates' including velocity and altitude gates to see what was out there after the Chinese balloon incident. This was paired with a heightened alert to look for these types of targets.

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The problem may be the use of the F22. Its natural the USAF want to justify the use of their premier fighter. OTOH, you cant help but think that something like an F15E with a designator pod might actually prove more useful in this kind of situation. We can see how useful those can be with the infamous 'Tic Tac' footage as taken from an F18E.

 

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