"The Balloon!" How to take down a spy balloon in a controlled manner

Originally published at: "The Balloon!!!!" How to take down a spy balloon in a controlled manner | Boing Boing


If I learned anything from teevee; Corporal Agarn will take it down by mistake while riding in the basket underneath holding a dachshund.



It is disappointing if unsurprising that millions of Americans are angry that the Biden administration didn’t use anti-aircraft missiles to shoot the thing down while it was still in Canadian airspace.

Because apparently missile debris never comes back down and sovereign borders only matter when they are our own.


Most especially given that the American public was ‘somehow’ largely unaware that three such balloons were allowed to pass over passively during the administration of the previous guy (just one of many possible citations)

(“There really is no sticky weight missile/drone, care of the darpa funding, which could attach/entangle itself to make the thing slowly descend? - where are all the secret military budget funds going??”)


Copy edit here:
It does NOT displace the same mass of atmosphere. It displaces the same VOLUME of atmosphere, but has significantly lower mass, thus it is buoyant.

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The 1960s reconnaissance satellites took pictures on film and returned the film to earth for processing (this was before they opened orbital Fotomat™ booths). A returning capsule descended by parachute. A plane snagged the chute in midair with sort of drag line which caught the parachute’s shroud lines and pulled both chute and capsule into the plane. I bet it’d have worked on the Chinese balloon, too, but I doubt if they had any of the old equipment lying around.


I’d be willing bet they did have a new laser on hand.

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THIS is exactly the first thing I thought of!!

Super Troopers Yes GIF by Searchlight Pictures



I was thinking of something like a skyhook system.


Deleted… :+1:


Thanks. I appreciate it.


A little problem with altitude. The balloon was at 60K+ and prop planes don’t have quite that high of a ceiling.

Her idea is to gently put a couple of holes in the balloon so it can fall slowly. OK, let’s see how that works. What do we have capable of flying at 60K+’ that carries a gun? F15 seems to work. Plane, gun, bullets, all set. Wait. The gun is a Vulcan mini-gun that fires 100 rounds/second so even if you blip the trigger you’re going to send a crap ton of 3/4" incendiary shells through the envelope most likely shredding it. So imma thinking her idea sounds good but isn’t really practical. She knows her balloons but fighter jets, not so much.

The problem is that all these planes that could do that sort of stuff can’t go all the way up to the stratosphere
As I said on another thread (or maybe this one) that balloon was above even the operational ceiling of the F35. Only an F22 was barely able to reach the same height. Not a problem if you use AA missiles that bridge the gap like they did, but a huge one if you want to do fancy catching manoeuvres.

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A film canister versus a payload the size of a jetliner that weighed in excess of a couple thousand pounds. Hmm. Some tech doesn’t scale that well on short notice.


Where’s Sean Connery when you need him.