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The US military claims to have retrieved sensors from Chinese spy balloon

The US military claims to have retrieved sensors from Chinese spy balloon

The US military claims to have retrieved sensors from Chinese spy balloon

The US military claims to have retrieved sensors from Chinese spy balloon

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  • The US military retrieved important equipment from a suspected Chinese spy balloon.
  • The incident strained relations between Washington and Beijing.
  • The US military claims that targeting the latest items has been more challenging.
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The US military announced on Monday that it had retrieved important equipment from a suspected Chinese spy balloon that had been shot down by a US fighter jet off the coast of South Carolina on February 4, including key sensors apparently used for intelligence gathering.

“Crews have been able to recover significant debris from the site, including all of the priority sensor and electronics pieces identified as well as large sections of the structure,” the US military’s Northern Command said in a statement.

The Chinese balloon, which Beijing denies was a government espionage craft, flew over the United States and Canada for a week before President Joe Biden ordered its destruction.

The incident strained relations between Washington and Beijing, prompting America’s top ambassador to cancel a trip to China.

It also prompted the US military to comb the skies for other objects that were not being detected by radar, resulting in an unprecedented three shootdowns between Friday and Sunday.

The US military and the Biden administration have recognized that much about the most recent unmanned objects is unclear, including how they remained aloft, who created them, and whether they were spying.

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On Monday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin attempted to reassure Americans about the dangers presented by the mystery objects.

“I want to reassure Americans that these things pose no military threat to anyone on the ground,” Austin told reporters as he arrived in Brussels for a NATO meeting.

“They do, however, pose a risk to civil aviation as well as a possible threat to intelligence collection.”

More challenging

Because of their smaller size and absence of a traditional radar signature, the US military claims that targeting the latest items has been more challenging than shooting down the Chinese spy balloon.

The latest shootdown of an unidentifiable object by an F-16 fighter jet on Sunday took two sidewinder missiles – after one of them failed to down the target, a US official said on condition of anonymity.

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Austin stated that the US military has not yet retrieved any debris from the three most recent objects shot down, one of which landed in ice and snow off the coast of Alaska. Another shootdown occurred over Canada’s Yukon area.

Officials in the United States have refused to link the instances.

However, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated on Monday that the four aerial objects shot down in recent days were somehow linked, without providing further details.

“Obviously there is some sort of pattern in there, the fact we are seeing this in a significant degree over the past week is a cause for interest and close attention,” Trudeau told reporters in a news conference in Whitehorse, Yukon’s capital.

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The US balloons violated airspace at least ten times, China claims
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