Seen on the street in Kyiv.

Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

“The Mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” -- The TOFF *

"Foreign Relations Boil Down to Two Things: Talking With People or Killing Them." -- Unknown

“Speed is a poor substitute for accuracy.” -- Real, no-shit, fortune from a fortune cookie

"If you believe that you are talking to G-d, you can justify anything.” — my Dad

"Colt .45s; putting bad guys in the ground since 1873." -- Unknown

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"The Dildo of Karma rarely comes lubed." -- Unknown

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

* "TOFF" = Treasonous Orange Fat Fuck,
"FOFF" = Felonious Old Fat Fuck,
"COFF" = Convicted Old Felonious Fool,
A/K/A Commandante (or Cadet) Bone Spurs,
A/K/A El Caudillo de Mar-a-Lago, A/K/A the Asset,
A/K/A P01135809, A/K/A Dementia Donnie,
A/K/A Dolt-45, A/K/A Don Snoreleone

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Shoot the Fucker Down, Already

The U.S. is tracking a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that has been spotted over U.S. airspace for a couple days, but the Pentagon decided not to shoot it down due to risks of harm for people on the ground, officials said Thursday. The discovery of the balloon puts a further strain on U.S.-China relations at a time of heightened tensions.

I'm guessing it's more likely that the Zoomies can't shoot it down.


B said...

Apparently, they missed the chance to shoot it down before it got over areas that had enough population that they were afraid of it falling on.
Or at least that is the story.
It is apparently something like 60,000 feet, so they cannot determine where it might come down if they shoot at it.

seafury said...

What if they miss? after all this isn't trumps military anymore. Seriously though, eventually
eventually this thing is going to be in position to be shot down. Never thought I'd say this but B's points are valid. I'd also be interested as to what a spy balloon offers that satellites don't.

CenterPuke88 said...

The balloon “entered” from Canada, so it would have been their pidgin to shoot it down or not over less populated areas. I would expect the balloon to be well above FL600, as they called it no hazard to aviation and there are bizjets and military aircraft easily capable of the mid-50’s (plus a couple of airliners that can get into he high 40’s).

The conundrum here is:

1) Best returns come from recovering payload intact.

2) Chinese likely have a couple of things set up…a baro-pressure trigger to slag the payload and a remote release valve to deflate the envelope, likely very slowly.

3) The military have likely already determined the operating frequencies of the payload unit and are possibly jamming it/blinding it, but somehow not interfering with its navigation capability.

4) There has to be some value in recovering the slagged down payload for reverse engineering what was onboard, so the Chinese have a plan to either recover the payload or deposit it in the depths of the ocean.

5) Even the Chinese realize the massive issue of if this balloon injures even one person on the ground unless someone attacks it.

6) They can apparently still control the track somewhat, likely via altitude adjustment…but that implies a ballast supply of an evaporative or dispersive nature…which also limits endurance.

7) Puncturing the envelope at such a high altitude is likely to cause complete failure rather than a leak, and we would then be depending on the Chinese having installed a ballistic recover chute on the device to avoid a massive bang.

8) Glomar Explorer was sold for scrap, but I’m confident we still have deep recover capacity.

Ten Bears said...

It's over Montana, *, not exactly "populated" ... and seriously!? Collateral concern?

Back before we flew logs with helicopters, Bohemia (Logging and Lumber) tried balloon-logging. Used a yarder to move it up and down the hill, with a gas-monkey in a basket to fire the bag. I've seen pictures of it, it would strip a hillside in one lift. The landings were log-jams, took days to tear them apart. When it crashed it covered acres. There were attempts in the sixties to replicate that with smaller, dirigible mobility-like balloons that of course just didn't have that kind of lift, or could compete with jet-engine helicopters.

However it turns out, it's a fascinating bit of lift technology ...

Stewart Dean said...

No problem! Take this as license and launch a 60,000' powered drone over China (alas, required unless we launch a balloon from Pakistan or Kyrghizstan), see how upset they get, then act all surprised and give the same bland excuses back.
China keeps pushing, it's important to push back. That's the only thing they recognize: balls that are as big or bigger than theirs. True of any authoritarian regime: based on force, only "respects" force.

Stewart Dean said...

seafury: A: goosing your enemy, to see if they have any balls and teeth. Which is a really stupid thing to do if they do. FAFO.

CenterPuke88 said...

Ten Bears, I understand, but given this is two large solar arrays, with a goodly amount of sail area, and about a trailer plus of equipment, it’s a valid concern. It falls, Chinese problem…we shoot at it and it falls, our problem. Best guess, BTW, is FL800-900…interceptable by an F-15 or F-22 in a ballistic climb…but neither has a delicate enough weapon to hole it without destroying in. In the end, we’re gonna get the payload remains.

As for advantages…better pictures than satellite, longer viewing time than satellite, and bonus signals intelligence. The question is why do this rather than have an agent enter the U.S., build a lateral picture taking rig from commercially available equipment and use a Baron or such to fly past the same sites?

dan gerene said...

If this is a spy balloon can it be steered to even get close enough to do them any good? Maybe it is actually a weather balloon that blew the wrong way or just the Chinese spending a few thousand dollars to get millions in results by poking the bear.

Paul said...

the balloon is too high to shoot down with a plane or missile, it is easier to disrupt its surveillance signals and prevent it from getting any data.

the whole thing seems silly. U.S. airspace defense saw it coming, China has to know we saw it coming, and that there's orbital spy satellites that can do pretty much the same job without the overt outrage this generates.

part of me wonders if this was a staged event to test our political resolve/response. Triggering us to see how we'd handle it (and watching the Far Right throw a conniption about it).

CenterPuke88 said...

Down off the NC coast, recover effort underway.

Comrade Misfit said...

Still, Paul, it’s been shot down.