Pentagon reveals details on how Chinese spy balloon was taken down with single shot

The Biden administration is releasing details about how the military attempted to shoot down a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina.

The Chinese spy balloon was shot down at 2:39 p.m. Saturday by an A9X Sidewinder missile fired by an F-22 Raptor that took off from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, a senior military official said Saturday. took flight

The aircraft fired the missile from an altitude of 58,000 feet while the balloon was hovering at an altitude of 60,000 to 65,000 feet.

The balloon was shot down about six nautical miles off the coast of South Carolina, and the debris field was said to be about seven miles wide.

Beijing could potentially collect ‘unseen’ information from Chinese spy balloon as ‘battlefield preparation’: experts

In this photo provided by Brian Branch, a large balloon floats above the Kingston, North Carolina area, with an airplane and its contrail visible below.
(Brian Branch via AP)

The water depth where the balloon debris hit the ocean is about 47 feet, officials said.

The timeline for the balloon’s recovery from the Atlantic Ocean is unknown, and a Navy rescue ship is expected to arrive at the scene in a day or two.

China confirmed that the balloon belonged to them, as a spokesman claimed it was a civil research airship

Two US Air Force Raptor stealth jet fighters

Two US Air Force Raptor stealth jet fighters
(Reuters/US Air Force)

The US military was able to gather intelligence about the balloon as it flew across the country, the defense official said.

“I can’t go into more detail, but we were able to study and test the balloon and its equipment, which is valuable as the Chinese authorities themselves have admitted,” the defense official said.

The defense official confirmed President Biden’s comments on Saturday that the military was authorized to shoot down the balloon on Wednesday but that military officials were waiting because of safety concerns for people on the ground.

Chinese President Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping
(Saudi Press Agency/Handout by Reuters)

The defense official said Saturday afternoon was “the first available opportunity to successfully bring down our surveillance balloon without jeopardizing the safety of Americans, which are military assets.”

President Biden has been scrutinized by Republicans on Capitol Hill for not shooting down the balloon too soon as it flew over several military installations that could potentially provide intelligence to China.

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