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USA. Mysterious flying objects. What do American fighters shoot at?

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Four mysterious objects were shot down over North America in a matter of days, but very few details have been released about them. The lack of information sparked speculation – from theories about UFOs and extraterrestrial origins, to considering them to be spy cameras that could “spy” the United States with impunity for years. What do we know about the objects that the Americans shot at, and where did they come from?

The first, February 4, A large Chinese balloon was shot down and the remains of it fell into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina. Three more objects were shot down over Alaska in the following days, Canada and lying down on the US-Canadian border on Lake Huron. Despite the unprecedented operation to shoot down mysterious flying objects over North America, very little information has been provided about them so far. What is known about flying objects over the USA? What did American fighters shoot at?

Mysterious objects over the USA

From the messages transmitted by the American and Canadian authorities, it is known that the objects shot down were not the same. The most information was given about the first of them. It was a giant, high-flying balloon with “a gondola weighing more than a ton the size of three buses and equipped with multiple antennas,” the Pentagon later reported. China has admitted to launching the balloon, claiming it was a civilian weather balloon intended for scientific research. The description of this balloon provided by the Americans, however, differed significantly from the appearance of the most commonly used weather balloons, and the US authorities simply described it as a spy balloon. According to the information provided to congressmen, the balloon had equipment to collect “intelligence” and transmit it directly to China.

Chinese spy balloon over the USReuters

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In the case of the next three objects shot down, identification proved even more difficult. It is known that they were significantly different from the first shot down balloon, and so far no country or organization has claimed responsibility for their release. At first they were also called balloons, but later the term unidentified flying objects came to dominate, because “how these objects stayed in the air” was not fully explained, as the US air defense commander explained on Sunday. These objects were much smaller than the previously shot down Chinese balloon, but it is not known whether they were identical. They were described differently. as “an octagonal structure with dangling links”, “an object the size of a car”, or an object having a “cylindrical” shape. On Monday, the device was shot down over Canada Pentagon he described it as “a small metallic balloon with a payload attached to the bottom.”

Problems with the identification of these objects result from the search for their remains in hard-to-reach areas, but also from the unknown construction and origin. As a result, there have been many speculations about them, including presenting them as spy devices Russia and China, aerial debris, and even objects of extraterrestrial origin.

The Navy releases photos of the remains of a Chinese spy balloonUS NAVY/DVIDS/PAP/EPA

SEE ALSO: Were the objects seen over Japan Chinese balloons? Japan has the photos, they’re investigating

Balloons over the USA

The most common version is that all four objects shot down by American fighters are stratospheric balloons. What exactly are these balloons? These are large-sized balloons designed to move at very high altitudes, often above 30 kilometers, where they can stay in the air for a long time, cover huge distances, and if necessary – stop in place.

According to some experts, these can be very modern devices, sometimes described as a combination of a balloon or an airship with a drone. In the last decade, work on modern balloons and airships has been revived in many countries. Thanks to new technologies, these seemingly primitive constructions may turn out to be very useful again, both civilly and militarily.

“Balloons offer several advantages over satellites or drones,” Cornell University lecturer James Rogers, one of the Security Council advisers, explained to Stars and Stripes. UN on the cross-border threat posed by drones. “Not only are they cheaper than space-launched satellites, but they also work by staying in the Earth’s atmosphere, closer to the surface, (so) they can take better pictures,” he pointed out. He emphasized that the new generation of balloons is equipped with the latest technologies, so they can not only have rich spy or communication equipment, but also carry and release drones from the deck, or detect incoming enemy missiles.

As Dr. Michał Bogusz, an expert on China at the Center for Eastern Studies, points out, it is still too early to talk about the details of the construction of the downed objects or their origin. – One can only speculate whether they were ordinary weather balloons, even if lost even a few years ago, or indeed spy cameras – he emphasizes. “There is a lot of pressure on the US administration right now to clear up these cases and stop these speculations. The question, however, is how many such objects fly uncontrollably in the airspace, the expert notes.

Chinese balloon shot down over US territorial watersReuters

SEE ALSO: Four kills in eight days. CNN: The US Army has developed a new method of detecting flying objects

Chinese spy balloons

Since China admitted to releasing the first of the downed objects, there were speculations that all these objects belonged to Beijing. US officials say the mysterious objects were part of a “large intelligence fleet” working for China. The fact that this country has its own stratospheric balloon development program has been known for at least several years. – In 2019, the Chinese scientist Wu Zhe boasted about these balloons in the state media. At that time, it was claimed that the experimental balloon flew around the globe, also flying over North America – notes Dr. Michał Bogusz. – Officially, it’s a program for conducting meteorological research, but of course the question arises why the Chinese need to check the weather over the US – he adds. Similar objects, also suspected of belonging to China, have been observed in recent months in other parts of the world, including over South America and the South China Sea.

SEE ALSO: A mysterious object was circling over the disputed sea. It resembled a stratospheric airship

According to Dr. Michał Bogusz, most of the Chinese stratospheric balloons are pressurized balloons with a light plastic skeleton inside and an expandable canopy. – By regulating the amount and composition of gases in the balloon’s canopy, the height of its flight is changed, and thanks to motors drawing energy from solar panels and different wind directions at different heights, such balloons can also change the direction of flight. However, their propulsion is complementary, they move mainly thanks to the winds, so despite some maneuverability, they always fly from west to east, as most winds blow in the stratosphere, stresses the OSW expert.

However, as Dr. Michał Bogusz emphasizes, the possibility of using stratospheric balloons by the Chinese army can only be speculated at present. – Theoretically, “sky is the limit”, and there are many possible applications. For example, a scenario where the Chinese unnoticed place and anchor a balloon over a US military base with intercontinental missiles. In the event of a conflict and rockets are launched from an undetected balloon, an explosive is released, which immediately destroys these rockets. Such advanced possibilities of balloons, however, are only science fiction today – says the expert. – More realistic, however, may be monitoring communications in someone’s airspace, the Americans reported that the downed balloon had many antennas – he says.

According to the China expert, however, one should not immediately assume that this Chinese program is mature and effective. – In my opinion, these are just tests, Beijing is checking whether spying in this way will be successful at all, and therefore its balloons can be equipped with obsolete equipment for the time being – he notes. Moreover, in his opinion, such a spectacular reaction of the US and shooting down four flying objects may prove to be a serious blow to the further development of intelligence balloons. – Continuing this program in a situation where it has ceased to be secret no longer makes sense. Now each country will also monitor the stratosphere, notes Dr. Bogusz.

SEE ALSO: Chinese balloon over the USA. OSW expert: it can cause a shock comparable to the launch of Sputnik by the USSR

UFO over the USA

There are no indications of an extraterrestrial origin of the shot down objects. Despite this, the lack of information about them and the growing speculation caused the official reaction of the US authorities. – I don’t think Americans need to worry about aliens. As for that, period, said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, referring to UFO speculation.

It should be remembered that the investigation of unexplained aerial phenomena (UAPs), previously classified as UFOs, is officially dealt with by the American authorities. From published in January According to the report, the office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) received a total of 510 reports of such sightings. Most of them initially were classified as drones or balloons, but 171 were considered to require further detailed analysis. Recognizing the observation data as unexplained aerial phenomena, or calling them “UFOs”, does not mean, however, that the Americans considered them to be from outer space, only that they require further analysis.

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Aerial garbage

It is also possible that at least some of the downed objects were just a kind of “air debris”, objects released into the atmosphere over which control was lost. They could have been old, civil balloons, airships, drones or fragments of other structures that, due to rarefied air and strong air currents, are able to remain uncontrollably at high altitudes.

Although we hear more often about the problem of space debris orbiting our planet, there is also a lot of such debris flying in the upper parts of the Earth’s atmosphere. How much – no one has even estimated so far. According to the Americans, however, about 1,800 meteorological balloons are released every day in the world. Only 20 percent. of them is later recovered. And balloons, drones and similar lightweight structures can be launched not only by governments, but also by non-governmental organizations and private companies.

Remains of a Chinese balloon shot down by the USdvidshub – Tyler Thompson

SEE ALSO: White House: Chinese balloons flew over the US during Trump’s presidency

CNN, Reuters, Stars and Stripes, tvn24.pl

Main photo source: Newscom/PAP

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