The revelation was released a few days after one of the alleged spy balloons was shot down off the coast of South Carolina after flying over the country.
“The Chinese are very busy collecting intelligence with every tool they have and high flying balloons are one of them,” an Israeli expert said.
The Chinese balloon that was detected over the US and shot down by an F-22 fighter aircraft should not have surprised Washington. China in the past pointed to the use of high flying balloons for military purposes.
In April 2022, the China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) published a paper that focused on “special aircraft” and concluded that balloons could be used by the military to test enemy air defences. This according to a translation of the paper by MEMERI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, a nonprofit press monitoring and analysis organization co-founded by former Israeli military intelligence officer Yigal Carmon.
According to this report, following the US’s February 4, 2023 downing, over the Atlantic Ocean, of the Chinese spy balloon that had crossed over the country over the course of a week, official Chinese media said that the incident confirmed that airships can be part of China’s air strategy and mocked the US for spending over USD 1.4 million to pop a USD 50 balloon.
According to the report in China, Social media users also commented on the incident and said that “An Unmanned Airship Causes The Collapse of Myth of the North American Air defecse systems”.
The Chinese article translated by MEMERI points to a paper published in April 2022 by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) focused on “special aircraft” and concluded that one of the useful military applications of balloons would be to “suppress enemy air defence early warning systems and shield air attack forces to carry out their missions.”
“(Balloons can) induce and mobilize the enemy’s air defence system, providing the conditions for the implementation of electronic reconnaissance, assessment of air defence systems’ early warning detection and operational response capabilities.
“In response to the growing threat posed by ground-based air defence systems to air attack forces, it is necessary to use cheap air balloons to create active and passive interference to effectively suppress enemy air defence early warning systems and shield air attack forces to carry out their missions.”
Some expert’s point to the potential of high flying balloons carrying Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) payloads.
A massive electromagnetic field is created when an EMP weapon is “detonated,” short-circuiting a variety of electronic devices, including computers, satellites, radios, radar receivers, and even ordinary traffic lights.