Chinese spy balloon’s solar panels could power sophisticated radar -Washington Post

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Chinese spy balloon shot down by the US in February carried solar panels that could generate enough electricity to power a type of radar capable of imaging at night and through clouds, the Washington Post reported on Saturday Citing leaked US Secret Service documents.

The balloon’s surveillance capabilities were detailed in a document from the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) that was allegedly leaked into a Discord chat room by Jack Teixeira, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, according to the Post.

Teixeira, 21, was charged in Boston on Friday with unlawfully copying and transmitting classified material.

The balloon caused an uproar in Washington and damaged US-China relations when it flew over the US in January and February. It was shot down by a missile fired from a US Air Force jet off the coast of South Carolina on February 4.

According to the NGA document, the balloon could generate up to 10,000 watts of solar energy, more than enough to power a sophisticated surveillance system known as synthetic aperture radar, the Post said.

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This type of radar can return images at night and can penetrate clouds and thin materials like tarpaulins to show objects underneath, the newspaper reported.

The balloon also had a four-foot diameter parabolic dish, several unidentified sensors and a possible mast antenna, the Post said.

The Pentagon declined a request from Reuters to comment on the Post report.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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