F-22 that shot down the spy balloon is pictured taking off when it was revealed that U2 spy planes were in pursuit
The US used U2 spy planes, first used during the Cold War, to monitor the Chinese balloon as reports suggested similar balloons had previously been sighted at two highly sensitive military sites – but intelligence agencies classified them as UFOs.
U-2S Dragon Lady spy planes were recruited as part of last week’s scramble to assess the balloon because of their ability to fly at extremely high altitudes.
The balloon was at 60,000 feet, and U-2S routinely fly above 70,000 feet: most fighter jets fly at between 45,000 and 51,000 feet.
The U-2S was deployed to observe the Chinese balloon from above and possibly block the transmission of any data collected.
It is not clear when the U-2S was deployed or for which parts of the spy balloon’s seven-day odyssey across the United States
A U-2S Dragon Lady is seen in action. The planes can fly at an altitude of 70,000 feet and were used last week to fly over the Chinese spy balloon
The spy balloon floats over the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday – with a fighter jet and its contrail below
The use of the U-2S was first reported by The War Zone.
The single-seat, single-engine aircraft were first released in 1955 and are still widely regarded as the most difficult aircraft to fly in the world. Pilots are required to wear a full pressure suit similar to that worn by astronauts, and landing is extremely unsafe due to limited visibility thanks to the plane’s long nose.
“The U-2 is capable of collecting a variety of images, including multispectral electro-optical, infrared and synthetic aperture radar products, which can be stored or sent to ground utilization centers,” the Air Force explains.
“In addition, it also supports high-resolution, wide-area synoptic coverage provided by the optical stick camera, which produces traditional film products that are developed and analyzed after landing.”
The United States Air Force has 33 U-2S based at the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base, California.
The U-2, with its glider-like wings, is seen on a reconnaissance mission
A U-2 pilot is assisted with his special pressure suit. The planes are widely considered to be the hardest to fly
Officials said the first spy balloon to fly over the United States crashed into about 47-foot-deep water six miles off the South Carolina coast. They noted that a suitable salvage vessel will not be on site for days as the race to secure the wreck is on
They are often deployed around the world to provide “indications of recent activity in areas of interest,” according to the Air Force.
They are also used to “uncover efforts to hide the placement or true nature of man-made objects” and to help with humanitarian disasters such as floods or earthquakes.
As the dispute over the spy balloon rages on and Republicans repeatedly question why Joe Biden didn’t order it down when it first entered US airspace, the Pentagon has confirmed two more spy balloon sightings.
The first spy balloon under the Biden administration was described as “early” in his tenure, with the balloon being described as flying over the US continent
Officials did not say where exactly.
A second spy balloon crashed into the Pacific off Hawaii four months ago, around October 2022.
And the third spy balloon, the most recent, entered US airspace over Alaska on Jan. 28 and was seen from the ground and by airliners over Montana on Feb. 1. On February 4, he was shot down off the coast of South Carolina.
Biden wanted to shoot it down as soon as he was informed, on February 1, but Pentagon chiefs told him it was too risky and could injure people and damage property.
An F-22 Raptor fighter jet fired a single AIM-9X missile to shoot down a Chinese spy balloon and its payload, which was equipped with cameras, sensors and radars
A BRIEF HISTORY OF SPY BALLOON SIGHTINGS
Under Donald Trump
*** Coronado, California
Under Joe Biden
*** Early 2021: over the continental US
*** Oct 2022: Balloon crashed off Hawaii
*** Jan-Feb 2023: Ballon flies over the US, from Alaska to South Carolina, and is shot down on February 4th
*** Feb 2023: Balloon flight over South America, sighted over northern Colombia
Donald Trump has cited criticism of Biden for not shooting it down, but Pentagon chiefs later said there were several incursions while Trump was in the White House.
He angrily denied their claim, and both his defense secretary, Mark Esper, and his national security adviser, John Bolton, said they were also surprised to hear Chinese spy balloons over the US were under their supervision.
Gen. Glen VanHerck, the head of the US Northern Command, said Monday that the Department of Defense “did not detect” the previous balloons, adding that intelligence agencies had been alerted to them through other intelligence-gathering means.
Reports then suggested that these officials were aware of the incursions but did not raise the matter with top Pentagon or White House leaders, instead classifying them as “unidentified aerial phenomena” or UFOs, sources told the New York Times with.
Officials working with renewed vigor investigating UFOs in recent years then concluded that the previously identified sightings were in fact spy balloons.
“We have not detected these threats,” VanHerck told reporters.
“After the fact, the intelligence community – I believe as previously informed – assessed these additional fundraising threats and alerted us to these balloons that previously approached or transited North America.”
A growing number of sightings have now been recorded as incursions by Chinese spy balloons.
The spy balloon will be shot out of the sky over South Carolina on Saturday
Last week it was confirmed that both Hawaii and Guam had spotted spy balloons – both island locations have large military bases.
Over the weekend, Florida and Texas were confirmed as locations for a sighting under the Trump administration.
On Monday, Bloomberg reported that Chinese spy balloons were also sighted over Norfolk, Virginia, and Coronado, California, during Trump’s tenure.
Both locations are home to aircraft carriers.
The tally now stands at six incursions under Trump and three under Biden — with a fourth balloon currently floating over South America and heading north through Colombia.
VanHerck said it was worrying that the Pentagon did not immediately spot and correctly identify the balloons, and said it is now urgently working to improve its detection capabilities.
“I will tell you that we have not detected these threats,” he said.
“And that’s a gap in consciousness that we need to figure out.”
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/celebrity/f-22-that-shot-down-spy-balloon-is-pictured-taking-off-as-its-revealed-u2-spy-planes-tracked-it/ F-22 that shot down the spy balloon is pictured taking off when it was revealed that U2 spy planes were in pursuit