US official: Examination of the equipment showed that the Chinese airship is designed for espionage and reconnaissance

A senior US Department of Defense official said US investigations into the Chinese airship’s equipment showed it was used for espionage and reconnaissance missions.

A Pentagon spokesman told reporters, “I can’t go into details, but we had the opportunity to examine the balloon and the valuable equipment loaded onto it.”

The official noted that the US had informed Beijing that it shot down the balloon off the coast of South Carolina.

For its part, the Pentagon confirmed that the Chinese spy balloon was shot down by an air-to-air missile launched from an F-22 fighter jet.

And after it passed secret military installations across North America and created a hotbed of tension between Washington and Beijing, the operation to shoot down the “Chinese spy balloon” ended, as the operation was broadcast live by the American media.

It is expected to fall in US territorial waters, and Washington hopes that the vehicles loaded on it will be located and studied.

An operation is underway in US territorial waters to recover the wreckage of a balloon that was flying at an altitude of about 60,000 feet (18,288 meters) and was estimated to be the size of three school buses.

Two U.S. officials said the airship was shot down by an Air Force fighter and footage shows a small explosion followed by the airship crashing into the water.

US officials were keen to time the operation so they could recover as much of the wreck as possible before it drowned in the ocean, and the Pentagon had previously assumed that any area of ​​wreckage would be large.

Earlier, a Pentagon spokesman said that a reconnaissance balloon was seen over the territory of the United States, which flew from the Aleutian Islands through Canada and reached the US state of Montana.

“Our forces have located a reconnaissance balloon high above the United States mainland and have been tracking it for the past two days,” Ryder was quoted as saying by NBC.

“We are following this closely,” he added, noting that “immediately after the discovery of the balloon, the US authorities took steps to prevent the collection of confidential information.”

The Pentagon confirmed that the airship was being monitored by the North American Aerospace Defense Command NORAD, and the US military believes that the airship is Chinese, and the Department of Defense indicated that the airship was not shot down because it posed a risk of falling in populated areas.

For its part, a representative of the Chinese Foreign Ministry explained that “the probe came from China and its purpose is of a civilian nature, especially since it is used for meteorological research.” the balloon lost control and deviated from the set course.

Source: News + RT

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