Last flight of Chinese spy balloon, Pentagon didn’t know they’d been flying over the US for years


A Chinese spy balloon flying all over the US was shot down over the coast of South Carolina by a fighter jet on Saturday. 

A Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor jet from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia took the shot at 2:39 p.m. The surveillance balloon was hit with a single supersonic, heat-seeking, air-to-ground AIM-9X missile. It had been traveling at an altitude of 18,000 meters (58,000 feet).

The surveillance balloon had been making its way around to sensitive military installations including missile silo sites. And the pentagon says it was intelligence-gathering in the U.S.



Air Force General Glen VanHerck, head of U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command and Northern Command reported that the balloon was 200 feet (60 meters) tall and carried equipment weighing about two thousand pounds.

Biden gave orders on Wednesday for the shoot-down. But it was three days before the military was certain it could be brought down without any risk to civilians.

Not the first time Chinese Spy balloon

General Glen VanHerck said on Monday the military had not detected previous spy balloons over the U.S. before January 28, but he confia rmed there were several in the last decade. And called the oversight an “awareness gap.”