Have you ever wondered how the Biden administration was able to shoot down a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina? We now have the details of the military effort that unfolded on Saturday.
At 2:39 p.m., an F-22 Raptor fighter jet fired one air-to-air A9X sidewinder missile from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. The missile was fired at an altitude of 58,000 feet, while the balloon was hovering at an altitude of between 60,000 and 65,000 feet. The balloon was shot down about six nautical miles off the coast of South Carolina and the debris field is said to be roughly seven miles wide. The depth of the water where the debris from the balloon hit the ocean is approximately 47 feet.
The U.S. military was able to gather intelligence information on the balloon as it flew across the country. A defense official confirmed that the military was given permission to shoot the balloon down on Wednesday, but military officials waited due to safety concerns for people on the ground. Saturday afternoon was the first available opportunity to successfully bring down their surveillance balloon in a way that would not pose a threat to the safety of Americans.
President Biden has received scrutiny from Republicans on Capitol Hill for not shooting down the balloon sooner as it flew over several military facilities that could have potentially provided China with intelligence information. However, the details of the military effort to shoot down the balloon have now been released, which provides a better understanding of the situation.