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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Chinese balloon, objects over USA and Canada. What were they shot down with? Supersonic Sidewinder Missiles

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AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles were used to shoot down a Chinese spy balloon and three other unidentified flying objects that have appeared over the USA and Canada in recent days. The cost of one missile is about $439,000, according to Bloomberg on Monday. This is the equivalent of almost two million zlotys. Poland has such missiles, among others.

According to Bloomberg, Sidewinder missiles are thermally guided, short-range supersonic missiles that have been the standard equipment of American aircraft since the 1950s. The AIM-9X is their latest version, which entered service in 2003. 31 other countries have them, including Poland, which purchased them, among others, in a package with F-16 aircraft. Air forces USA received a total of over 100,000 AIM-9s.

Asked about the method of shooting down the Chinese balloon and the mysterious objects, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Monday that although it was initially considered to do it with a cannon, it was ultimately decided that Sidewinder missiles would be the safest, most effective and most efficient way. Earlier, the head of the Northern Command, General Glen VanHerck, stated that this decision was also determined by the smaller warhead of the missile, compared to, among others, the AIM-120.

F-22 Raptor. Such fighters were used to shoot down Chinese balloonsPhoto by Master Sgt. Jeremy Lock/DVIDS

Unidentified objects over the USA and Canada

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The AIM-9X was used to bring down both a Chinese balloon over the coast of South Carolina and three other as yet unidentified and motionless objects over the northern coast of Alaska, the Canadian province of Yukon, and over Lake Huron, Michigan.

In three of the cases, the missiles were fired from the US military’s newest fighter, the F-22 Raptor, and one from the F-16.

Main photo source: Photo by Master Sgt. Jeremy Lock/DVIDS

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