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Chinese spy balloon over US

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Chinese spy balloon over US

Old 4th Feb 2023, 10:07
  #101 (permalink)  
 
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WHAT IF
China want to know if USA has a laser weapon capable of shooting down satellites etc. Also more generally wish to portray USA as the hostile one.

Brainstorming meeting comes up with an annoying flotilla of 'peacefully lost' weather balloons just out of reach of standard air defence weapons and loaded with sensors to track any response/action
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 11:00
  #102 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Jetstream67
WHAT IF
Brainstorming meeting comes up with an annoying flotilla of 'peacefully lost' weather balloons just out of reach of standard air defence weapons and loaded with sensors to track any response/action
Hmmm, but if it really is at 60k it is not out of reach of 'standard' A2A Equipment. In any case if someone really feels the urge to shoot it down it might be a good idea to do it as KISS (and thereby as little revealing) as possible, e.g.. gun of a fighter. I would not try a Patriot and then not hitting it thereby giving away limitations of current relevant systems. That is about the only useful information i can conceive which China could take from this.
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 11:30
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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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.
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 11:38
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I thought the Navy was going to arm U2 aircraft with anti shipping missiles during the cold war.

Launch the U2 from a carrier.

Maybe could use a U2 to launch an attack or at least get a closer look at the balloon -- bit extreme -- I am sure script writers are already at work on the next movie of the week.
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 11:41
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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What if it is just a high altitude research balloon gone astray after all? Better to leave it up there and claim it is a spy balloon, thereby generating rage and frustration against the PRC, than bring it down only to find it wasn't a surveillance balloon after all.
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 12:01
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Most likely the US knows by their ELINT that it is only a weather ballon, with a simpel TX for temp, altitude and humidity. If they had an high data rate encrypted stream transmitted from the ballon it would be down already.
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 12:03
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Originally Posted by Ninthace
What if it is just a high altitude research balloon gone astray after all? Better to leave it up there and claim it is a spy balloon, thereby generating rage and frustration against the PRC, than bring it down only to find it wasn't a surveillance balloon after all.
The timing is too much of a co-incidence to me. The US has finally started to call China out over Taiwan and the South China Sea. Called it a bigger threat than Russia, and has just struck a deal for bases in the Phillipines. Resistance to the slow coiling Chinese Dragon is growing.

This balloon, with its considerable payload hovering over the continental US, capable or not...is a message.
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 12:21
  #108 (permalink)  

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Pilot identified.



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Old 4th Feb 2023, 12:24
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I am somewhat confused. I am reading and hearing on the news that this balloon is steerable, and is currently ‘hovering’ over Montana.

This is simply not possible if this is indeed a balloon. Balloons, by definition, have no form of propulsion, they drift with the wind and always have zero airspeed, with their groundspeed being the wind speed at their location and altitude. They therefore cannot steer - it is physically impossible to steer something with zero airspeed. I know hot air balloons can be ‘guided’ by changing altitude to take advantage of varying wind speed and direction, but they are still just drifting with the wind.

If this device is indeed steerable, and is now hovering over Montana despite prevailing westerlies at it’s location, it is not a balloon, it is an airship. This then directly contradicts China’s assertion that is a balloon that has drifted off course.

Last edited by Baldeep Inminj; 4th Feb 2023 at 12:39.
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 12:38
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First the bomber gap, then the missile gap so now does the West have a balloon gap!?!
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 12:53
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Originally Posted by Flyhighfirst
Why not shoot it down? Collateral damage would be almost zero chance. You don’t destroy it. A couple of rounds from an aircraft. Wait to see if it starts descending. No well then a couple more rounds. Eventually it is going to start a slow descent to the ground.

This does sound all very strange.
When I was a U.S. Naval Aviator flying fighters I did a lot of air-to-air gunnery practice, but I never started a run at 80,000 feet, that's for sure. What aircraft to you recommend for ultra-ultra-high altitude gun attacks?
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 13:05
  #112 (permalink)  
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Most likely the US knows by their ELINT that it is only a weather ballon, with a simpel TX for temp, altitude and humidity. If they had an high data rate encrypted stream transmitted from the ballon it would be down already.
The package suspended below the balloon is reported to be the size, and presumably the weight, of 3 buses.

That’s a very big balloon, as it would have to be to be visible from the ground at 60K feet.
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 13:10
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Originally Posted by Brewster Buffalo
First the bomber gap, then the missile gap so now does the West have a balloon gap!?!
I'm going to get my shovel. Gotta get a head start on the mine gap. Also getting some jars to store the precious bodily fluids.
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 13:49
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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Watching the US NBC news last evening.
Talk about a “Headline in Search of a Story”
Laughable.
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 14:43
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Originally Posted by Baldeep Inminj
I am somewhat confused. I am reading and hearing on the news that this balloon is steerable, and is currently ‘hovering’ over Montana.

This is simply not possible if this is indeed a balloon. Balloons, by definition, have no form of propulsion, they drift with the wind and always have zero airspeed, with their groundspeed being the wind speed at their location and altitude. They therefore cannot steer - it is physically impossible to steer something with zero airspeed. I know hot air balloons can be ‘guided’ by changing altitude to take advantage of varying wind speed and direction, but they are still just drifting with the wind.

If this device is indeed steerable, and is now hovering over Montana despite prevailing westerlies at it’s location, it is not a balloon, it is an airship. This then directly contradicts China’s assertion that is a balloon that has drifted off course.
Lots of daft theories in the R&N thread about how it's being remotely controlled from Beijing so that it overflies as many secret military installations as possible.

After all, drones can be piloted from halfway across the world - ignoring the fact that the latter have wings, flying controls and an engine.
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 14:57
  #116 (permalink)  
 
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Space is a lie

The flat earthers will have a field day: To them this will prove their claim that all satellites are actually balloons and there is no such thing as space.
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 15:31
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Smile

Originally Posted by MechEngr
I'm going to get my shovel. Gotta get a head start on the mine gap. Also getting some jars to store the precious bodily fluids.
With a proper breeding techniques and a ratio of, say, ten females to each male, I would guess that we could be back to the present gross national product within, say, 20 years.
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 15:37
  #118 (permalink)  
 
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Time to pull the SR-71 out of the Smithsonian and fire her up one last time. Get the old guys back out of retirement.
"We're getting the band back to together!".

Ram the sucker!

A Mach 3 pass oughta upset the apple cart.

Or...


Just ask the Chinese nicely if they'll happily share the probably very useful weather reports over the US at that altitude as it might actually be a weather balloon?
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 16:14
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Originally Posted by BigBoreFour
Time to pull the SR-71 out of the Smithsonian and fire her up one last time. Get the old guys back out of retirement.
"We're getting the band back to together!".

Ram the sucker!

A Mach 3 pass oughta upset the apple cart.
it would be nice to see but I guess it would cost a lot, it costed a lot flying them when they weren't retired and I couldn't imagine now
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 16:30
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Originally Posted by ORAC
The package suspended below the balloon is reported to be the size, and presumably the weight, of 3 buses.

That’s a very big balloon, as it would have to be to be visible from the ground at 60K feet.
More likely total mass 100kg or so, mostly the fabric envelope. The payload is probably just some solar panels on a carbon fibre spar, with a polystyrene crate in the middle housing the electronics and a few valves and a wee pump. Launching these things without mishandling them and damaging them at launch is not so simple.They are very fragile.

This thing is probably not dissimilar to the Loon ones, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loon_LLC . I had discussions with Loon at the very beginning of their project as they were looking for a energy solution.

If you read that link you'll begin to understand the control strategies so as to get these things to go (or stay) where you want them. Very approximately !
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