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21 Feb 13:33

About our Spy Balloons news

The latest news on Spy Balloons, a form of surveillance used by the PRC and others to gather intelligence.

Synonyms include espionage balloon, reconnaissance balloon, spy balloon, and surveillance balloon, as well as high-altitude objects.

Controversy over their use occurred when a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon entered US territory, causing it to be shot down by an F-22 on 4 February 2023.

There were several other notable high-altitude airspace security incidents in February 2023, mostly over North America. The incidents include:

  • The 2023 Latin America balloon incident: a Chinese high-altitude balloon flew over Costa Rica, Colombia, and Venezuela. The Chinese government confirmed the balloon was theirs and said that it was used for 'flight tests' and was blown off-course.
  • The 2023 Alaska high-altitude object: a high-altitude object entered US airspace and was shot down over the Beaufort Sea by the US Air Force on 9 February.
  • The 2023 Yukon high-altitude object: Canadian and US authorities ordered the downing of an unidentified object over Yukon, and a US Air Force F-22 shot down the object in Canadian airspace on 11 February.
  • The 2023 Lake Huron high-altitude object: an octagonal object with strings hanging from it was detected over northern Montana, Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan at 20,000 feet. Airspace was temporarily closed in the Lake Huron area, where the object was shot down by the US Air Force and National Guard, falling into Canadian waters on 11-12 February.
  • The 2023 Shandong high-altitude object: Chinese authorities said they detected an unidentified object over the Yellow Sea, in waters near Qingdao, and were planning to shoot it down due to proximity to Jianggezhuang, a major PLA naval base on 12 February.

The use of spy balloons as a military technology dates to the 19th and 20th centuries, during which various militaries employed them, including the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

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