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Passenger jets, radar retuning and 'objects'?

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Passenger jets, radar retuning and 'objects'?

Old 14th Feb 2023, 20:36
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Passenger jets, radar retuning and 'objects'?

So the radar has been 're-tuned' and revealed there could be a bit of a rash of different kinds of objects floating about at an altitude that is a hazard to passenger aviation, and therefore need to be 'shot down'
What would be the likely outcome of a passenger jet at 500 mph running in to one of these objects?
How come this scenario has been allowed to come about?
Have we just been lucky up to now?
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Old 14th Feb 2023, 22:12
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How on Earth do you retune an aircraft's radar? In the olden days, waves used to fit waveguides.

By chance, today, a retired radar engineer bought up the subject of the objects fired at after the balloon(s). Most odd.
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Old 14th Feb 2023, 22:27
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Originally Posted by Loose rivets
How on Earth do you retune an aircraft's radar? In the olden days, waves used to fit waveguides.
It's a reference to "tuning" in a broader sense, i.e. altering the filter that in the past has excluded slow-moving objects (balloons, for example ) from the display of targets.
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Old 15th Feb 2023, 08:12
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I do remember having a VERY close encounter with a red, I presume, Met balloon at 36000feet one day. Scared me, I can tell you, though the Firt Officer didn't see a thing.
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Old 15th Feb 2023, 11:28
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Meh. It's a big sky.
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Old 16th Feb 2023, 09:17
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You can fine tune what you want to see on the display of a primary radar, and remove fixed objects, rain etc,, not rocket science.

There are lots of weather ballons launched around every day , some do not come down as expected and others drift to where they are not epecected as very high altitude winds are very difficult to predict, and when they are , it is done using... guess what ? weather balloons.
I personally think that this wave of shooting down balloons ( except the first one of course which clearly is not a weather balloon) is more political than anything else.

I found for instance the shotting down using an F-16 and a missile to shoot down a small balloon at 20.000 ft over lake Huron a bit overdone . If you really wanted to know what it was , quietly send an helicopter , a few are quite able to go to 20.000ft , , take 100s of photos in all angles of it, and if you want to put it down ,open the door , use a sniper with a rifle, to do minimal dammage and go down with it to drop a marker where exactly if falls down on tthe water . But a F16 and a missile looks better on CNN ..

Last edited by ATC Watcher; 16th Feb 2023 at 09:47.
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Old 16th Feb 2023, 09:36
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ATC watcher, thanks for brightening up my morning. Btw, is this your first fiction novel? 🤣
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Old 16th Feb 2023, 09:41
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque
ATC watcher, thanks for brightening up my morning. Btw, is this your first fiction novel? 🤣
No, Tom Clancy books are better !
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Old 16th Feb 2023, 11:37
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A Sidewinder Missile costs around $450k a pop and the balloon and the intelligence it holds return to earth at terminal velocity destroying everything. A couple of 20mm rounds through the envelope however would see the balloon descend somewhat slower towards earth thus preserving the tech attached for the boffins to get their teeth into.

What other race in the world would plump for total destruction by missile when a few small calibre rounds would do the trick more efficiently? Yee Haa!
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Old 16th Feb 2023, 11:56
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Detailed discussion in the Military thread about how shooting at anything at the height of the original Chinese balloon just isn't possible.
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Old 16th Feb 2023, 12:06
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
Detailed discussion in the Military thread about how shooting at anything at the height of the original Chinese balloon just isn't possible.
I suggested that on a non aviation forum, and got a reply about something that supposedly can bring down intercontinental ballistic missiles

In reply I pointed out that the launching ship for that device needs to have sight of the target, which might be tricky over Montana
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Old 16th Feb 2023, 15:06
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Rule number 4 of gun use:
  • Always Be Sure of Your Target and What's Beyond It.
The projectile from just about any gun will go through the balloon and come down somewhere. That somewhere needs to be known beforehand.
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Old 16th Feb 2023, 18:32
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Originally Posted by IBMJunkman
Rule number 4 of gun use:
  • Always Be Sure of Your Target and What's Beyond It.
The projectile from just about any gun will go through the balloon and come down somewhere. That somewhere needs to be known beforehand.
Well being as they needed 2 missiles, as the first one missed, to shoot down the object over lake Huron I would prefer the odd 20 mm bullet impacting the planet at free fall velocity than an missile complete with warhead. What is the range of 20 MM compared to an AIM?
I can see the need to use a missile on the large balloon at FL 600 but not necessarily at targets drifting FL 400 or below.
The need to shoot down the lower altitude targets seems justified as they do pose a threat to air traffic…I find the political folks using the “Big Sky Concept” to say “not necessary” as opportunists commenting, from a position of safety after the fact. If an aircraft did hit one their screams of indignation and accusations of incompetence would have been deafening.

Last edited by albatross; 16th Feb 2023 at 18:33. Reason: clarity, truth and all that good stuff.
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Old 17th Feb 2023, 07:25
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I would expect the best solution would be some sort of incendiary weapon that burns (part of) the balloon with limited remaining mass. Maybe even coming down with a parachute.
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Old 17th Feb 2023, 20:46
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Re downing such objects, I'm surprised no-one has mentioned the US 'Star wars' [email protected] system that was all the rage some time ago.

How much was fact and how much fiction such as the 'real' Star Wars blaster bolt we may not know, but I should think if you were concerned about gravity and missiles/rounds falling on your head following a miss then a [email protected] 'bolt' might be the preferred weapon. Science suggests we wouldn't see it as per Spielberg's presentation, but the result should be the same.

Otherwise I've no doubt that the military, like any other system operator will, from time to time, need to check and test that their equipment is working properly. What better way to do that than on a 'proper' target? No doubt it costs a wadge of cash for each missile, but in the grand scale of what I imagine the military budget to be I imagine it might equate to your morning cup of tea...

FP.

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Old 18th Feb 2023, 05:41
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Originally Posted by First_Principal
Re downing such objects, I'm surprised no-one has mentioned the US 'Star wars' [email protected] system that was all the rage some time ago.

How much was fact and how much fiction such as the 'real' Star Wars blaster bolt we may not know, but I should think if you were concerned about gravity and missiles/rounds falling on your head following a miss then a [email protected] 'bolt' might be the preferred weapon. Science suggests we wouldn't see it as per Spielberg's presentation, but the result should be the same.

Otherwise I've no doubt that the military, like any other system operator will, from time to time, need to check and test that their equipment is working properly. What better way to do that than on a 'proper' target? No doubt it costs a wadge of cash for each missile, but in the grand scale of what I imagine the military budget to be I imagine it might equate to your morning cup of tea...

FP.
That’s the other reason for sending the balloon - to check what tools the opposition has for bringing it down.
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Old 18th Feb 2023, 23:25
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A Sidewinder Missile costs around $450k a pop
Bloody Nora. What does one that goes bang cost?
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Old 19th Feb 2023, 14:14
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Originally Posted by Loose rivets
Bloody Nora. What does one that goes bang cost?
Thatís why those involved donít get to fire many for training, but objectively they are cheap in air to air missilery terms.


By way of comparison have a look at the publically quoted cost of pretty much any of the common or garden radar missiles these daysÖ

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Old 19th Feb 2023, 18:34
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Proximity shells were the second best-kept secret in the war. No one noticed the Americans had gained unusual sympathy for the British deaf.
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