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Chinese spy balloon over US

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Chinese spy balloon over US

Old 6th Feb 2023, 00:48
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 00:55
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From the BBC:
Republican politicians. meanwhile, accused US President Joe Biden of a dereliction of duty for allowing the balloon to traverse the country unhindered.

Marco Rubio, vice-chair of the Senate intelligence committee, told CNN it was a "brazen effort" by China to embarrass the president ahead of his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Brenda Bethune, the mayor of Myrtle Beach which is near to where the object was shot down, said: "I do have concerns about how the federal government can allow a foreign adversary to fly uninterrupted from Montana to our doorstep."

She said she hoped the government would explain how this happened and how they will prevent it from happening again.
USAF taking potshots at balloon causes politicians to take potshots at the President. Yet another example of the depressing nature of politicians these days.

I’m sure Mayor Bethune would have been more than concerned if the balloon had been shot down over land and killed one of her constituents.
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 01:06
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I still think it must have been transmitting in real time, after all how else could China guarantee a successful landing of a balloon, we have moved on from From Ice Station Zebra and little capsules with film reels inside them.
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 05:08
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Harbour cotter

i think you are referring to this.

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Old 6th Feb 2023, 05:35
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Originally Posted by harbour cotter
We all know that the Chinese play the long game. I doubt anything of value would be found in the wreckage. The balloon could have served many functions, but perhaps one of them is merely a trial to test the potential of future Balloon raids using prevailing winds. The Japanese ineffective fire raids are well known, but what is less well known is the successful British Balloon raids on Germany during World War ii. Certainly the most cost effective bombing campaign of the war. Balloons with wire attachments, sometimes with a small charge. They caused a lot of damage to crops during the summer as well as bringing down power and telephone lines and even destroying a power station on one occasion. There were numerous German forces (civilian and military) tied down in trying to contain and mitigate the damage. They were dispatched by WAAF's (I may be incorrect on this but it was certainly women from one of the Forces) of whom I think at least one died. The damage caused was out of all proportion to the effort and cost involved. They simply used prevailing winds. I think Churchill urged caution in case the Germans retaliated, but it would be very rare indeed for this to occur simply because there were few, if any, prevailing winds toward the U.K. from Germany. Even the Germans were surprised that Britain did not make more use of them. Obviously they could not be directed and many found their way to neutral Switzerland and beyond who complained bitterly. But if China were to use them on a widespread campaign, for example releasing a million simultaneously, then I am sure it would cause chaos and yet be comparatively cheap to undertake without the need of modern weaponry. Just speculation of course, but it is a possibility. Would any country be prepared for that?
Project was called Operation Outward and was run by the Royal Navy. The Balloons were obsolete weather balloons from RN Stocks that would have otherwise been scrapped. Most of the ordnance carried. the altitude control system and weapon release systems were very Heath Robinson. The only real explosive ordnance used were left over small mines for the Airborne Minefield systems pushed by Lindermann (Mutton and alike),The incendiary weapons were made out of beer bottles and large socks (sealed with tar) which were filled with incendiary material and an impact detonator. The wire weapon was 700ft of light hemp twine with 300 feet of piano wire at the end in a can with some water ballast in another can. The balloon climbed to around 18000ft after release at which point a rope affixed around expanded circumference of the balloon pulled taught and opened the gas release valve. Also at launch a time fuse was lit which burnt for around 24 hours. At that point, the Balloon should be around 1000 feet up and descending. The wire was released with one end of the twine still attached to the balloon and the wire touching the ground. The ballast release was also activated which would release the water at a rate that would keep the balloon at 1000 feet and allow the balloon to drift far enough to ensure some form of electrical transmission line got shorted to either the ground or to another phase line on the same gird line. The project was stopped in 1944 as the British needed the Hydrogen for other things like Barrage Balloons for D-Day and V-1 defence. The launch crews were mostly WRENS.

Why Ukraine are not using these types of weapon is beyond me..

On a lighter note.....


.
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 07:20
  #206 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Captain Dart
I spent 28 years as an airline jock flying into and over China on a regular basis. Observations:

Convoluted air routes to avoid their military bases (not that you could see much as the country is 99% smog).

Sometimes threatening or actually having to declare an emergency in order to get clearance to deviate to avoid thunderstorms.

Narrow, crowded corridors for civvies to fly in with the military controlling the rest of their airspace.

A general impression of a paranoid regime.

My point? I can imagine the squealing from the ChiComms if a huge American ‘weather balloon’ ever overflew their neck of the woods.
Exactly, and I am reminded that in the 2001 Hainan Island incident, they literally crashed a fighter into an EP-3E intelligence asset, that wasn't even over Chinese air space, such was their paranoia.
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 09:55
  #207 (permalink)  
 
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"Our barroon fright compretery successful, now under water off east coast. Now we risten to US submarines."
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 10:01
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Originally Posted by Hilife
Presumably, being a balloon, then like any other balloon it just went where the wind took it?

Balloon pilots are able to use varying winds at different altitudes for directional control (clearly within limitations and not an exact science) and even high-up using Jetstream’s, so for me, the balloons incursion of US airspace was no accident.

Whether it be public/press or government/DoD response to this overfly, there can be no doubt, China will have learnt plenty from this episode.
This was not a hot air balloon.
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 11:31
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Talking

Originally Posted by Ascend Charlie
"Our barroon fright compretery successful, now under water off east coast. Now we risten to US submarines."
In an age of Woke nonsense, reassuring to know that the ghost of Benny Hill is alive and well.
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 13:06
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Just a dumb question, but .. .

Press reports say F22 used Sidewinder. F22's gun would surely have been cheaper; were there special reasons for choosing a missile?
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 13:12
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Originally Posted by Yellow Son
Press reports say F22 used Sidewinder. F22's gun would surely have been cheaper; were there special reasons for choosing a missile?
Gun door on F-22 can't be opened above a certain height, don't recall exact figure but I believe the balloon was at a higher altitude than this limit. They also wanted to ensure separation of the payload and balloon; this I imagine would've been tricky to achieve with a gun.
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 13:22
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Don’t really care about the cost of a single 9X when you’re a superpower…
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 14:21
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"Convoluted air routes to avoid their military bases (not that you could see much as the country is 99% smog).
Sometimes threatening or actually having to declare an emergency in order to get clearance to deviate to avoid thunderstorms.
Narrow, crowded corridors for civvies to fly in with the military controlling the rest of their airspace."

Sounds like the UK in the not so distant past...................
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 14:28
  #214 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by melmothtw
This was not a hot air balloon.
Precisely. Left with low plus right with height only works up to around 2,000 feet at best. Remember your met exams and the geostrophic wind ? Plus you need someone to work the burners and keep an eye on the GPS. Johnny Chinaman seemed not to have included either.

In any case, I found it only worked 70% of the time.
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 15:08
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Originally Posted by Stu666
Gun door on F-22 can't be opened above a certain height, don't recall exact figure but I believe the balloon was at a higher altitude than this limit. They also wanted to ensure separation of the payload and balloon; this I imagine would've been tricky to achieve with a gun.
Thanks, Stu666, I didn't know that. I imagine there's a speed limit, too, but I don't suppose that was relevant here..
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 15:10
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Originally Posted by B Fraser
Precisely. Left with low plus right with height only works up to around 2,000 feet at best. Remember your met exams and the geostrophic wind ? Plus you need someone to work the burners and keep an eye on the GPS. Johnny Chinaman seemed not to have included either.

In any case, I found it only worked 70% of the time.
I believe that passive navigation has advanced a great deal in recent years. In particular, look at the (claimed) capabilities of the Aerostar stratospheric balloons. Indeed, they have been awarded a number of DoD contracts in recent years. I'm sure that China has been looking at similar capabilities.
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 15:45
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Originally Posted by tdracer
Doesn't sound much like a weather balloon.
I read elsewhere that the US doesn't want to shoot it down because they are gaining massive intelligence from their observations.
That being said, photos from 60k ft. could be much more revealing than a spy satellite 100+ miles up... There are several ICBM missile sites in and around Montana...
Originally Posted by Low average
In my opinion, the capabilities of this balloon are probably minimal and not the point. This is a strong statement from China - they can put their hardware directly over the US unopposed, and visible for all to see.

Powerful.
Originally Posted by 5thGenOnly
I can’t really understand what the problem is. How is floating a weather balloon/surveillance balloon over someones airspace any different to having surveillance satellite in a LEO?

I’m pretty sure that if it is >FL600, the there is very little risk. After all, i’d have a guess that the US overflies many other countries >FL600 with both manned and unmanned surveillance systems.

Now, if sovereign airspace had a internationally recognised vertical limit, then this incident would be different.
Presumably, Western "spy" satellites are reported to be able to "read" car number plates. This requires optical lens systems to an extreme perfection.

I didn't check, though I can imagine, China's optics quality lags significantly behind Western capabilities. With, the consequence, a significantly lower image resolution for their spy photo's is obtained. (Can be a lot of pixels, though, when the optics aren't delivering a clear image to the optical sensor, all those extra pixels tend to be without value).

Moving the optics+camera to 60-70K feet altitude, will make the resulting resolution significantly higher. Western optics+camera's get to the point, so to say, the photo's show scratch marks on the mounting screws of the car number plates and Chinese stuff is finally able to read the car number plates.

Not to forget, the (near vacuum) atmosphere between 60-70K feet and 300+km gives (how minimal) optic distortion, which is avoided, when the optics+camera are dangling under a balloon.

So, yep, such a spy balloon does have its spy advantages.

Given the size of what is dangling below the balloon (with quite a lot of solar panels, implying significant equipment power consumption), this balloon might be more than just regular weather measurements with a radio for home communication. Data processing for weather measurements is done "at home", not in the air.

Equipment to think about, given the amount of solar panels:
- Operating environment stabilizing equipment (Thermally, humidity, vibration and the like).
- High power transmitting equipment, required for high-volume data transfers.
- (Limited) flight-path-control options, IE electric engines + batteries.

These are items not so often associated with weather balloons.
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 16:11
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How does a near vacuum cause optical distortion?
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 18:14
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If it is a runaway "Weather Balloon" as we are told that China claims, the surely the Chinese should be thanking the US for removing a potential threat to aviation, which would surely be the case as the balloon's altitude eventually decays !

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Old 6th Feb 2023, 18:41
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Originally Posted by tutgby
Don’t really care about the cost of a single 9X when you’re a superpower…
Besides, it's a great training opportunity/functional test opportunity. Normally you need to pay for the target drone...
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