The Chinese spy or surveillance balloon caught a lot of media attention after the United States (US) of America shot down one on February 4th 2023.
Apparently, the balloon had entered the US airspace around January 28th and the Defence Department started tracking it from February 2nd before a U.S. fighter jet shot it down just off the coast of South Carolina.
Now, even Ukraine has reported about six Russian “spy balloons” that the country’s military administration said they shot down. The balloons have been thought to be carrying military observations or information and were found floating over Kyiv.
What exactly are these spy balloons?
Spay balloons are actually not that new and have instead been used quite a lot for centuries almost, in not just wars but even general government agencies in order to get important information.
As per reports, the term ‘spy balloons’ comes from their shape of course and the fact that they often carry equipment like cameras, sensors, and other devices meant to gather and collect intelligence and data over a specific region.
They can also fly at either a high altitude, often if they don’t want to be seen by the general public or lower to the ground in order to get a much clearer view of the areas. As per a SpySpace report the “captured data can be used for security and surveillance, environmental monitoring, weather forecasting, and disaster response.”
The reason they are used so widely is due to their cost-effective nature and how versatile they can be as compared to something like satellites or drones. They can also have multiple uses instead of being used only once as per a Scientific American report apparently around 100 National Weather Service (NWS) sites launch these balloons twice a day in order to get data of temperature, humidity, etc.
Did India See These?
It has not been confirmed properly if Indias observed these spy balloons, but as per a report by The Print, the last time one was seen in Indian airspace was in July of 1978.
The report was published by the US’ Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), an open-source now defunct monitoring agency quoted that “In its 19 July issue, the Indian paper National Herald reported that a Chinese balloon had dropped leaflets near Ranga village in India.
The paper pointed out that this was not the first time that China had balloons carry leaflets and espionage equipment over India and that one week ago, a Chinese balloon dropped leaflets and a radio for espionage purposes over an area 50 km from Allahabad city in India.”
Besides that in the recent balloon caught in the US airspace, the Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman breifed officials from 40 embassies on what they found in it and according to a The Washington Post report said “The surveillance balloon effort, which has operated for several years partly out of Hainan province off China’s south coast, has collected information on military assets in countries and areas of emerging strategic interest to China including Japan, India, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines.”
This, however, has not been entirely confirmed by Indian agencies or defence officials.
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