A US Air Force F-22 fighter jet shot down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina on February 4, 2023.
The mission featured multiple US military fighter jets and refuelling aircraft, but only one aircraft, an F-22 Raptor fighter jet from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, fired a single AIM-9X supersonic, heat-seeking air-to-air missile against the alleged Chinese spy balloon. The shot down occurred a week after the Balloon entered American airspace, sparking a dramatic surveillance incident that exacerbated US-China tensions.
“They successfully knocked it down, and I want to commend our aviators who did it.”US President Joe Biden said
Although the Pentagon advised deflating the balloon over open water to protect civilians from debris falling to Earth from thousands of feet (metres) above commercial air traffic, Biden claimed that he had given the order to do so on Wednesday.
video shows the shooting down of the Chinese surveillance balloon. It appears that an F-22 was the aircraft used.
The balloon, which was roughly the size of three school buses and was shot down over relatively shallow sea about six nautical miles off the US coast, could boost efforts to recover pieces of the Chinese spying equipment in the coming days, according to officials.
“China apologised earlier this week for a “airship” that had erred into US airspace while being employed for civilian meteorological and other research objectives. The airship’s trip over the US was a result of a force majeure mishap.”according to China’s foreign ministry
Which also charged US officials and media with exploiting the incident to cast doubt on Beijing.
F-22 Raptor Fighter Jet
The United States Air Force is currently using the F-22 Raptor, the first fifth-generation fighter jet in the world. The F-22 is believed to be less sophisticated than the F-35, but NATO countries are not allowed to purchase Raptors. Beyond-visual-range (BVR) combat, dogfighting prowess, and stealthy appearance are all attributes of the Raptor. Over US soil or elsewhere, the F-22 has never taken part in an enemy kill. It’s the first kill shot from the multi-billion dollar F-22 project, according to experts.
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