The Chinese spy balloon that was shot down by the United States late last week is thought to have been a part of a larger Chinese military surveillance operation targeting other countries.
China has reportedly been utilizing balloons to perform surveillance operations above military stations in nations including Japan, India, Vietnam, Taiwan, and the Philippines, according to the Washington Post. It is believed that Hainan, a province in China’s south, is responsible for these operations.
The Chinese military reportedly sent a surveillance balloon into the air over five countries. Concerning China’s surveillance activities, the United States has notified military leaders throughout the globe.
To collect intelligence, the Chinese military decided to launch balloons to altitudes of 60,000 to 80,000 feet, much above the altitude at which commercial jetliners typically fly. It is unclear from the story why the government continues the operation given that China has access to the same data through its military satellite system.
On Saturday, an F-22 Raptor is said to have shot down a surveillance balloon over the Atlantic Ocean at a height of roughly 58,000 feet with a single air-to-air AIM-9X Sidewinder missile. President Joe Biden authorized the shooting of the surveillance balloon last week after it had traveled hundreds of kilometers.
U.S. officials on Tuesday revealed photos of the recovered surveillance balloon, which was located in international seas off the coast of South Carolina. As of the same day, Navy Seals.