US Stealth Jet Shoots Down Chinese Spy Balloon Off Carolinas
US defense officials confirmed to Fox News an F-22 stealth jet fired an AIM-9 Sidewinder that brought down the Chinese surveillance balloon. The F-22 was based out of Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.
NEW: senior defense official tells me an F22 fighter jet fired a single shot at the Chinese spy balloon in U.S. air space over Atlantic Ocean. The F22s flew from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) February 4, 2023
Senior US military official says 1 air to air missile fired by F22 at 58,000 feet (an A9X missile) brought down China spy balloon. The balloon was at 60-65,000 feet when shot.— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) February 4, 2023
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Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III released a statement about the Chinese surveillance balloon being shot down.
This afternoon, at the direction of President Biden, US fighter aircraft assigned to U.S. Northern Command successfully brought down the high-altitude surveillance balloon launched by and belonging to the People's Republic of China (PRC) over the water off the coast of South Carolina in US airspace. The balloon, which was being used by the PRC in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States, was brought down above US territorial waters.
On Wednesday, President Biden gave his authorization to take down the surveillance balloon as soon as the mission could be accomplished without undue risk to American lives under the balloon's path.
After careful analysis, US military commanders had determined downing the balloon while over land posed an undue risk to people across a wide area due to the size and altitude of the balloon and its surveillance payload. In accordance with the President's direction, the Department of Defense developed options to take down the balloon safely over our territorial waters, while closely monitoring its path and intelligence collection activities. This action was taken in coordination, and with the full support, of the Canadian government. And we thank Canada for its contribution to tracking and analysis of the balloon through NORAD as it transited North America. Today's deliberate and lawful action demonstrates that President Biden and his national security team will always put the safety and security of the American people first while responding effectively to the PRC's unacceptable violation of our sovereignty."
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A US F-22 stealth jet has shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon off the Carolina coast.
The best view so far of the surveillance balloon being shot down.
Best video so far of the Chinese spy balloon being shot down pic.twitter.com/MrWB403OqJ— BNO News Live (@BNODesk) February 4, 2023
More views of the F-22.
Photos show the Chinese Balloon being shot down by a F-22 Raptor from Myrtle Beach, SC!— Jake (@astroqv) February 4, 2023
The balloon is falling back to Earth.
Here comes the recovery vessel.
The USS Carter Hall (LSD-50) (along with numerous skipper sized surface craft, I assume) is arriving in the splashdown zone for balloon recovery. pic.twitter.com/dq7lWrHzKm— The Intel Crab (@IntelCrab) February 4, 2023
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Shortly after President Biden reportedly said, "we are going to take care of it," referring to the Chinese spy balloon that is calmly drifting across US airspace, the FAA has shut down three airports and closed airspace in parts of North and South Carolina:
Fighter jets are circling the spy balloon.
F-22s returning after a brief holding orbit. pic.twitter.com/bRZ6uq7Knl— The Intel Crab (@IntelCrab) February 4, 2023
CCP balloon over North Myrtle Beach ‼️ Jets are circling ‼️ pic.twitter.com/BaG5VasQUp— SouthernFried (@southenFried) February 4, 2023
Video of what appears to be fighter, jets circling the China balloon above Conway, South Carolina pic.twitter.com/lvjW6WX2Gp— Andy Shain (@AndyShain) February 4, 2023
A US military surveillance plane is circling offshore of North Carolina.
A vessel with a large crane might be headed to an area where the military might shoot down the balloon.
The USS Carter Hall (LSD-50) is headed south from Beaufort, NC. May be used for balloon recovery efforts. Ship has a 30 ton crane on board. pic.twitter.com/nsCYQ1Tpqb— The Intel Crab (@IntelCrab) February 4, 2023
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A suspected Chinese surveillance balloon appears to be heading toward North Carolina, according to ABC News, citing a senior US official familiar with the situation. That official said the US would probably shoot the balloon down over the Atlantic Ocean and retrieve it.
Within the last hour, numerous Twitter users have uploaded footage of what appears to be the Chinese balloon floating above North Carolina.
Chinese balloon over Shelby North Carolina at 9:35 AM. Moving west south west. pic.twitter.com/EEj8vGk6La— Anne Eskridge (@AnneEskridge1) February 4, 2023
Here’s the #ChineseSpyBallon over Easley, SC around 8:45am this AM. The trajectory forecast I posted last night seems right on. The balloon should be visible anywhere in southern North Carolina and northern South Carolina at some point over the next 6-8 hours. 📸 Jason McDowell. pic.twitter.com/6hspFrIXqG— Ed Piotrowski (@EdPiotrowski) February 4, 2023
Chinese Spy Balloon currently SW of Polkville NC approximately over Kingston NC 9:44 AM #ChinaSpyBalloon @wxbrad pic.twitter.com/8OjdDwsgmN— Brian Branch (@BrianBranch13) February 4, 2023
Local police tell residents don't shoot their guns at the giant balloon.
The Gastonia Police Department is asking residents to not shoot at the Chinese spy balloon if it flies over North Carolina pic.twitter.com/lD9VkI299M— Joe Bruno (@JoeBrunoWSOC9) February 4, 2023
On Friday, we cited Capital Weather Gang, who accurately predicted the balloon's trajectory while it was floating above the Midwest. Now updated predictions for Saturday morning show the balloon might be headed toward the Atlantic.
The balloon's payload is approximately 90 feet long, or the length of two motorhomes, and the balloon itself is much larger. Here's one of the clearest views of the balloon.
And there might be more balloons. We noted last night:
"We are seeing reports of a balloon transiting Latin America," Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesperson, told Fox News Friday night. "We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon."
US officials have not ruled out shooting the balloon down. That might happen as soon as the balloon moves offshore into the Atlantic. Time for Space Force to shine.