The US Defense Department has revealed a selfie taken by the pilot of the U-2 spy plane as it hovered above the Chinese spy balloon that the Americans shot down.
The selfie shows the aircraft’s shadow on the balloon as well as a clear sight of the balloon’s payload as it traversed the continental United States.
The shot depicts the balloon’s enigmatic silvery-white spherical with panels drooping.
The balloon was discovered by the US on January 28 and was shot down by a US fighter jet off the coast of South Carolina on February 5 after crossing much of the country.
The balloon was over Montana when the picture was taken, flying at a height of 60,000 feet. The picture was taken a week after the balloon entered US airspace in Alaska and fighter jets were dispatched to make a positive identification.
“The payload technology on the balloon was plainly for intelligence surveillance and inconsistent with the equipment onboard weather balloons.”A US official stated
The spy balloon, according to the official, was equipped with solar panels large enough to produce the necessary power to run multiple active intelligence collection sensors. It also had multiple antennas, including one array that was probably capable of collecting and geolocating communications.
The U-2 is a single-seat, high-altitude reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft with “glider-like features.”
The US jet has collected significant sensor and electronics components from the alleged drone after shooting down the balloon.
Since then, US jets have shot down three other targets: one in Alaska, one over Canada, and one over Lake Huron. The Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory in Virginia received some of the debris so that it could be further examined there.
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