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Why China's surveillance balloon is more intriguing than alarming

3rd February 2023 - 13:00 GMT | by Harry Lye in London


The Malmstrom AFB-headquartered 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron maintains immediate launch readiness of 150 Minuteman III ICBMs and 15 missile alert facilities spread over a 13,800 square-mile complex. (Photo: US DoD)

While capturing headlines, the intelligence-collection capabilities of the Chinese balloon currently floating over the US are likely limited.

On 2 February, the US government announced it was tracking a Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon that had appeared over the continental US.

The balloon was most recently sighted flying over the northern border state of Montana, home to a number of US Minuteman nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silos.

In a statement, Pentagon Press Secretary Brig Gen Pat Ryder said: 'The balloon is currently travelling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground. Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the

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Harry Lye


Harry Lye

Harry Lye was Senior Naval Reporter at Shephard Media.

Harry joined the company in 2021, …

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