# "The Balloon !"

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7 hours ago, TheVat said:

This is going to get expensive.  Sidewinder missiles are not cheap.

Did a superpower showdown provoke the U.S. into using a fighter jet to shoot down a hobbyist group's research balloon in Canada? That's the question the public — and the FBI — wants to answer, after the U.S. military shot down several unidentified airborne objects last weekend.

A military spokesperson tells NPR it's their understanding that the FBI has spoken to the hobbyist group in question — the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade, based just north of Chicago — in an apparent attempt to determine whether their small balloon might have inadvertently caused a big ruckus....

3 hours ago, swansont said:

$400k for a missile, but$200k for the training version, so cost without explosive payload somewhere in between.

That’s cheap in comparison to US military budgets. The Air Force alone has bought more than 10,000 of them. Raytheon has hundreds-of-million-dollar contracts to supply them.

This is peanuts, relatively speaking. And might tick off something on the training requirements for a pilot or two, so these might be in lieu of other missiles that would be fired.

There is also the real possibility of a significant attack coming from a Drone or a balloon, I know it's considered a crazy idea but a 1 megaton nuke detonated from a balloon at 100,000 feet would do some real damage to our nation and be difficult to defend against and maybe even figure out where it came from.

The cost of a few missiles seems a small price to pay to prevent this and maybe even be enough to make cheaper missiles to take down these objects.

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12 minutes ago, Moontanman said:

There is also the real possibility of a significant attack coming from a Drone or a balloon, I know it's considered a crazy idea but a 1 megaton nuke detonated from a balloon at 100,000 feet would do some real damage to our nation and be difficult to defend against and maybe even figure out where it came from.

“real” being nonzero but still exceedingly small. How big of a balloon would be required to lift the payload to that height, and would you risk doing that knowing that it might or might not get close to any target of interest, and could be shot down well before that happened?

I would imagine the risk is greater from a ground-based bomb in a van, that could be placed in sufficient proximity to a target. A balloon bomb is a threat from a movie writer.

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4 hours ago, swansont said:

“real” being nonzero but still exceedingly small. How big of a balloon would be required to lift the payload to that height, and would you risk doing that knowing that it might or might not get close to any target of interest, and could be shot down well before that happened?

I would imagine the risk is greater from a ground-based bomb in a van, that could be placed in sufficient proximity to a target. A balloon bomb is a threat from a movie writer.

Probably true but is it better to allow foreign adversaries to fly balloons unimpeded over our territory or to shoot them down so that adersarry knows they cannot get away with it even if they try.

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Did you see a UFO?

No, it was a balloon.

Did you see a balloon?

No, it was a UFO.

A balloon?

A UFO?

Unsure...

Edited by Sensei
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The US DoD has released a memorable photo taken by a US pilot in a U2 spy plane who was flying over the Chinese balloon the day before it was shot down. The Chinese balloon was drifting at an altitude of 60,000 feet at the time, but the U2 has an operational altitude of at least 70,000 feet.

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