No Minister

A Ballooning story

with 5 comments

After letting the Chinese spy balloon cruise leisurely across America for eight days, the US Air Force finally shot it down.

As it happens this is also the first ever “kill” for the F-22 Raptor fighter plane after being in service for more than a decade. I don’t imagine the designers, engineers – and most of all the pilots – of these planes ever imagined that it would be shooting down balloons in the 21st century.

Still, it must warm the cockles of their hearts to know that they’re keeping company with the lost legends of WWI fighter aces who shot down observation balloons in that conflict. In fact:

  • A F-22 raptor that shot down a Chinese spy balloon on Saturday used the callsign “FRANK.”
  • The callsign was a tribute to a legendary World War I pilot named Frank Luke Jr. 
  • Luke downed 14 German balloons and four aircraft during a short combat period in France.

Good to know they have a sense of humour. Still, if they really wanted to honour Luke the shootdown should have been a gun rather than a missile shot.

Now that the “crisis” has passed there’s all sorts of excuse-making on behalf of Biden as to why this was not made public from the start – that only happened when an amateur video by a Montanan went viral – and why it was not shot down a lot earlier. In my previous post on the subject there was talk from the DoD about the dangers of shooting it down over land and how they’ d wait until it was over water.

The initial claim was that Biden ordered the shoot-down on Wednesday but was overruled by his military “staff”. Was this Joint Chief of Staff, General Milley? Was he kowtowing to the Chinese again, as he did at the end of Trump’s presidency?

There were also claims from “a DoD source” that three such balloon incursions had happened on Trump’s watch – undoubtedly claims made to take the heat off Biden. However, faced with a 100% denial from every Trump cabinet member the DoD backed down and said they hadn’t notified Trump and company at the time – which is worse when you think about it, but right in line with Milley’s stance noted above. Of course the usual TDS-riddled suspects blurted their usual insanity: “GOP Conservative” Kristol’s brain has been completely broken by Trump.

Though I don’t have much time for him, GOP Senator Marco Rubio was right on the button with these comments – including his notes about the propaganda aspects of it all, including the whole “Americans are weak, silly snowflakes” that has been echoed by some commentators here.

Written by Tom Hunter

February 7, 2023 at 10:15 am

Posted in Aerospace, China, Military, USA

5 Responses

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  1. Another example of “American Exceptionalism” theatrically popping stray weather balloons with fighter jets while ignoring the joker in the room, the 34 trillion dollars the American Government debt, the increasing poverty of American citizens while Indians, Russians and Chinese look to a better more prosperous future,

    San Fransisco is more squalid than Calcutta was in the 1950s now = Sadly you have yet to see the trajectory of the West is into third world status, while much of the USA already there.

    And if you seriously think the USA can shatter Russia’s economy by denying Russians McDonalds and Louis Vuitton handbags you are in for a major reality check.

    Still I have to admit Americans are still the World leaders when it comes to Dick Wagging


    February 7, 2023 at 5:25 pm

  2. Heh, heh, heh,…. they’re digging ever deeper…

    This is getting into Blackhawk Down material; we can’t shoot at it unless it’s shooting at us. FFS.

    Tom Hunter

    February 7, 2023 at 7:23 pm

  3. You are presumably an intelligent man Tom Hunter, so why do you buy into this crap?

    Is it because it confirms your prejudices against Chinese people?

    A weather balloon travelling within in the jet stream makes an unusual turn to the South because of a cold snap and crosses into densely populated (sarc) Montana and idiot Americans start hyperventilating about spy balloons and instead of treating this nonsense with the derision it deserves you happily buy into it.



    February 9, 2023 at 4:20 am

  4. Is it because it confirms your prejudices against Chinese people?

    It confirms my prejudices against the Chinese Communist Party, who are running similar propaganda plays as they always have, as the USSR used to, and as your favourite KGB thug survivor of that era continues to do; “The West is failing, led by the evil America, into their doom….yada, yada, yada”

    A weather balloon….

    Says who? Oh right, the CCP. You could try applying your analysis to yourself and your sources and their motivations for lying.

    Weather balloons are used a lot for local, short-term measurements of the atmosphere and given electronics these days their packages are small and lightweight. They’re nowhere near as big as this thing.

    …. and idiot Americans start hyperventilating about spy balloons

    “idiot Americans” being another old propaganda meme – which you now buy into since your great conversion a few years ago.

    As you well know I take very little notice of the MSM but I’m quite prepared to believe that they were hyperventilating about this since such doom-laden hysteria is right in their wheelhouse.

    But when it comes to TPTB their intention was to say nothing in public about this balloon – as they had for days while it crossed US airspace – speaking up only when forced to by the release of a video taken by an ordinary person sitting in their driveway in Montana, which then went viral on the likes of Twitter. That speaks to motivations that – whether idiotic or not – are very different to the ones you ascribe.

    Tom Hunter

    February 9, 2023 at 6:26 am

    • Tom, Tom, Tom…

      …Why is what comes from Washington DC any more or less trustworthy than what comes from Beijing on this matter?

      Why would you call VVP a “KGB thug” but not describe George HW as a “CIA Thug”.

      This ballon was circulating in the Polar Jet Stream which took an unusual but not unknown swing to the South causing the ballon to enter the USA via Canada in Montana where it was immediately spotted by civilian observers and the rest as we say is history

      Why would anyone in the age of satelites use a balloon, a vehicle which is large, highly visable, highly vulnerable and virtually uncontrollable, to conduct aerial surveillance? It makes no sense!


      February 9, 2023 at 8:10 am

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