VIDEO: Suspected Chinese spy balloon flies over Montana, Blinken scraps rare Beijing trip - GulfToday

VIDEO: Suspected Chinese spy balloon flies over Montana, Blinken scraps rare Beijing trip


A suspected spy-balloon flies in the sky over Billings, Montana. Reuters

Gulf Today Report

The Time magazine mentioned the reasons why the US military did not resort to shooting down what was said to be a Chinese spy balloon that was detected in Montana airspace, while it was flying at a great height.

An unnamed Pentagon official said, in a statement to Time magazine, that a decision was taken to shoot down the balloon when it was in Montana's airspace: "We were keen to empty the airspace at that point, until we complete the operation.

He added that even with taking these precautionary steps, the military leaders saw that the risks that might result from the projection were not low enough. Accordingly, we did not drop it.

A spokesman for the US Department of Defense, General Pat Ryder, said that the US authorities monitored and closely followed the spy balloon, at a great height.

The American spokesman explained that the Chinese airship was traveling at a low speed but at a great height above commercial air traffic routes, and therefore, it did not pose any danger on the military level, or in terms of threatening people on the ground.

President Joe Biden was briefed on the balloon issue on Wednesday, and asked Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to prepare options for intervention.

Among the options that were on the table of the US army was to send fighter jets to strike it, while it was in the airspace of Montana, amid fears that its wreckage would fall to the ground and pose a danger to people.

The US military entered into cooperation with the Civil Aviation Authority to stop flights to and from the city of Billings, in southern Montana.

In the same vein, the United States has prepared the F-22 stealth fighter jet for intervention, which is the primary tool of the US military in air-to-air combat operations.

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