Pentagon Tried To Shoot Chinese Spy Balloon Down Over Beartooth Mountains | Big Horn Basin Media

Pentagon Tried To Shoot Chinese Spy Balloon Down Over Beartooth Mountains

Written by on February 17, 2023

Questions still linger over the Chinese spy balloon that was finally shot down off the coast of South Carolina three days after it was spotted over Billings, Montana on February 1st. While Biden admitted to the authenticity of the reports that the balloon was from China, and he said he ordered it shot down when it was aloft over Montana.  What the President did not say was the Pentagon attempted to shoot down the balloon as it flew over the Beartooth Mountains in eastern Montana, but the sortie failed.

Picture of the Chinese spy balloon over the United States.

On the morning that the balloon was spotted over Billings on February 1st, several Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor jets, along with two KC-46 Pegasus refueling air tankers and long-range E-3 Sentry AWACS surveillance aircraft, flew over the Beartooth Mountains with the goal of shooting the balloon out of the sky.

The plan was to have the fighter jets try to shoot down the over 200-foot balloon with an equipment payload as big as two school buses, with bullets, deflating the balloon and having it gradually fall into the mountains where the debris could be more easily found among the sparsely populated area.  It was reported that the Air Force preferred to use bullets instead of missiles because of the danger to people and animals on the ground.

The mission failed because the balloon was just too high to be intercepted.  The balloon was floating above 65,000 feet, way too high for the jets to reach, according to the Billings Gazette that spoke to several United State military officials.   The flight ceiling for F-22’s is 50,000 feet.

After the sortie over eastern Montana was scrapped, President Biden said he consulted with the Pentagon who cautioned him against shooting the spy balloon down over land as it moved into more densely populated areas of the country.  ”

After the Beartooth attempt failed, Biden said he consulted with Pentagon officials who for public safety reasons cautioned against shooting it down over land.  “Without doing any damage to anyone on the ground, (the Pentagon) decided that the best time to do that was when it got over water,” Biden told reporters earlier this week. Three days after it was spotted over Billings, the balloon was popped and fell into the ocean by a missile as it drifted off the shore from South Carolina.

For days after first being spotted, the President and the White House didn’t acknowledge the existence of the balloon traversing the skies over the country because the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, planned on a diplomatic visit to China.  But the trip was called off after pictures from the Gazette went viral.

Montana officials were alarmed about the balloon sailing over the eastern part of the Treasure State because of three nuclear missile silo fields that are managed by Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls.

Initially, China offered that the balloon was nothing more than a harmless weather research balloon that had blown off course, but since then, Chinese military leaders have amped their statements, revving up their responses and hinting at retaliation against the United States.  China claimed shooting down the balloon had “seriously violated the spirit of international law and international practice.”

CNN reported that U.S. intelligence officials have said the Chinese balloon is one in a number of balloons that have been launched by the Chinese military to test American defense systems.  The balloons have conducted at least two dozen flights over five continents in the past couple of years.

Almost a week after the Chinese balloon was brought down off the South Carolina coast, Senator Jon Tester D-MT, who is chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, held a hearing and demanded answers from the Biden administration about the spy balloon.  Last Wednesday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bi-partisan resolution that condemned the Chinese spy balloon.
“Any effort by China to interfere with Americans’ freedom and privacy will be met with a united front in the Senate, and I’ll do everything


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