China’s People’s Liberation Army plans to use high-altitude balloons to counter long-range U.S. drones, launch psychological warfare operations and gather intelligence, a review of Chinese military and technical writings reveals.
Beijing also reportedly test-fired a hypersonic missile from an airship in 2018, highlighting the military’s interest in multiple uses for lighter-than-air aircraft.
The U.S. decision to dispatch an F-22 to shoot down a Chinese surveillance balloon off the Carolina coast Saturday, after it traveled across the country from northern Montana, has focused new attention on the capabilities and threats posed by helium-filled, maneuverable craft.
Defense officials said little intelligence could be gained from sensitive military sites along the path despite the delay in knocking out the balloon. The maneuverable craft’s sensors fell into relatively shallow waters intact and are expected to be recovered. (Read more from “Balloons for Spying, Countering Drones and Psychological Warfare, Chinese Military Writings Reveal” HERE)
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