WATCH: Dramatic Video Show Chinese Spy Balloon Shot Down by US Air Force F-22 Raptor Fighter Jet
The F-22 fighter jet that shot down the Chinese Spy Balloon took off from the Langley Air Force Base in Virginia and fired a single AIM-9X supersonic, heat-seeking, air-to-air missile.
On February 4, 2023, a United States Air Force F-22 fighter jet shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina. Multiple fighter jets and refuelling aircraft of the US Military were involved in the mission, but only one aircraft, a F-22 Raptor fighter jet from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, took the shot at the suspected Chinese Spy Balloon using a single AIM-9X supersonic, heat-seeking, air-to-air missile. The shoot down happened a week after the Balloon entered the American airspace and triggered a dramatic spying saga that worsened US-Sino tensions.
"They successfully took it down, and I want to compliment our aviators who did it," US President Joe Biden said. Biden said that he had issued an order on Wednesday to take down the balloon, but the Pentagon had recommended waiting until it could be done over open water to safeguard civilians from debris crashing to Earth from thousands of feet (meters) above commercial air traffic.
Video of the Chinese surveillance balloon shoot-down. Looks like a F-22 was the aircraft that was utilized. pic.twitter.com/bLPPEM3FN6 — Global: Military-Info (@Global_Mil_Info) February 4, 2023
The balloon, which was estimated to be about the size of three school buses, was shot down about six nautical miles off the US coast, over relatively shallow water, potentially aiding efforts to recover elements of the Chinese surveillance equipment in the coming days, officials said.
Earlier this week, China expressed regret that an "airship" used for civilian meteorological and other scientific purposes had strayed into US airspace. China's foreign ministry said that the flight of the airship over the United States was a force majeure accident, and accused US politicians and media of taking advantage of the situation to discredit Beijing.
F-22 Raptor Fighter Jet
The F-22 Raptor is the world's first 5th generation fighter jet, and is deployed by the United States Air Force. Unlike the F-35, which is considered more advanced than F-22, the Raptor is not sold to any other country, including NATO nations. The Raptor is known for its dogfighting capabilities, beyond-visual-range (BVR) combat, and stealthy design. The F-22 has not been part of any enemy kill over the US Soil, or anywhere else. Experts are calling it the first kill shot from the multi-billion dollar F-22 project.
(With agency inputs)