Unidentified Objects/Balloons Intercepted by US aircraft

You are being deliberately obstinate IMHO. It was in the middle of winter. The sea ice was frozen solid and thick.
I'm not deliberately obstinate, you just don't know what frozen sea ice looks like. You think it looks like a frozen pond, but it doesn't form that way and doesn't look that way most of the time.

The fact that it's "frozen solid and thick" doesn't make the surface flat.
 
Image source: https://www.klook.com/en-US/activit...i-polar-explorer-icebreaker-cruise-rovaniemi/
Join a cruise on the frozen waters of the Bothnian Sea in Lapland and witness the ice-breaking power of the ship.
Content from External Source
That's part of the Baltic Sea, which has neglible tides and currents, not at all like the Pacific Ocean off Alaska. And even so you can see the snow drifts that any downed objects would soon end up being.

Article:
The seawater of the Baltic Sea is classed as low-salinity brackish water. In the surface layers of the Baltic Sea, the average salinity is only seven grams per kilogram of water. By contrast, in the oceans, it is 35 grams per kilogram.
Salinity affects ice formation.
 

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The object that was shot down was probably a 'harmless inflatable craft launched by private companies, recreationists or research institutions.' This would be a tiny target to find in the sea ice, and could easily be overlooked.

I can't imagine why this translates into 99 percent certainty that we are being lied to; more likely, if you dropped a hundred balloons on the sea ice near Alaska you'd be lucky to recover one of them.
 
The object that was shot down was probably a 'harmless inflatable craft launched by private companies, recreationists or research institutions.' This would be a tiny target to find in the sea ice, and could easily be overlooked.

I can't imagine why this translates into 99 percent certainty that we are being lied to; more likely, if you dropped a hundred balloons on the sea ice near Alaska you'd be lucky to recover one of them.
Indeed. But many complain that the Gov/MIL is not open enough about it all. But how naive can you be to assume the Gov will inform everyone in every action and step they take, specially if it has to do with world politics? I see no strange behaviour here, they clearly don't want to inform the whole world on sensitive topics.
And even if they did inform the public, what is the change they will believe it? Only when it fits their narrative.
 


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On March 6, 2023, Arctic sea ice likely reached its maximum extent for the year, at 14.62 million square kilometers (5.64 million square miles), the fifth lowest extent in the satellite record. This year’s maximum extent is 1.03 million square kilometers (398,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average maximum of 15.65 million square kilometers (6.04 million square miles) and 210,000 square kilometers (81,000 square miles) above the lowest maximum of 14.41 million square kilometers (5.56 million square miles) set on March 7, 2017.

Content from External Source
https://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/...-maximum-at-fifth-lowest-on-satellite-record/


From the above data (which is the maximum ice extent on 6 March 2023, thus in early Feb 2023 the ice extent was smaller) there are lots of places 'off Alaska' where there was little to no ice at all. Does anyone has a better location for the shootdown than 'off Alaska'? Maybe @Arthur 33 ?

Moreover, I bet an object


about the size of a small car
Content from External Source
https://www.defense.gov/News/News-S...-down-high-altitude-object-off-alaskan-coast/

crashing into the ice can make a pretty nice through-hole unless we're talking of some meters-thick ice, and the thickness of the ice at the crash site is a complete unknown.

Classic argument from incredulity.
 
And even if they did inform the public, what is the change they will believe it? Only when it fits their narrative.
This is apparent with the strategic public release of footage from military aircraft such as the drone footage of the buzz by a Russian fighter jet and the Chinese interception of the US Air Force B52.
 
The object that was shot down was probably a 'harmless inflatable craft launched by private companies, recreationists or research institutions.' This would be a tiny target to find in the sea ice, and could easily be overlooked.
As long as it's not found, the opposition claims the government didn't spend enough resources on the search; when it's found and determined to be harmless, the opposition will claim that the government spent far too much on a useless search/"PR stunt".

How much is reasonable to spend on a search where human lives are not at stake?
 
How much is reasonable to spend on a search where human lives are not at stake?
And where odds are decent that you shot down some hobbyists' balloon. That story falling out of the news cycle sooner rather than later is probably a Good Thing, from the Pentagon's point of view.
 
Does anyone has a better location for the shootdown than 'off Alaska'? Maybe @Arthur 33 ?
This is from the Backcountry Alaska youtube channel. Showing his location (red dot) and the flight tracker data of the circling planes in what I presume is the location of the shootdown. Directly North East of Prudhoe bay Alaska.

I am sure somebody that knows how to retrieve flight tracker data directly could get a better fix (I don't know how to do that).
flight tracker.png
 
they clearly don't want to inform the whole world on sensitive topics.
You appear to agree that they are lying to us. The only difference between me and you is you are fine with them lying because you assume they have a good reason, and trust the government.

This was not just some passing low importance incident. This was the first time in RECORDED US HISTORY that aircraft fired live munitions at a flying object in anger over US territory. To say that recovering the debris was just "not that critical because it was probably something unimportant they shot down" is ridiculous and an exercise in incredulity.


Q: Just one quick follow-up, you know, four shoot downs in eight days, when was the last time that U.S. fighters were scrambled and shot something down over U.S. airspace? I — I can't remember anything, and it just seems like there's a — a large and quick escalation to shooting down objects.

GEN. VANHERCK: (inaudible) to get with our history, I believe this is the first time within United States or America airspace that NORAD or United States Northern Command has taken kinetic action against an airborne object.
Content from External Source
Source: https://www.defense.gov/News/Transc...of-defense-for-homeland-defense-and-hemisphe/
 
This is from the Backcountry Alaska youtube channel. Showing his location (red dot) and the flight tracker data of the circling planes in what I presume is the location of the shootdown. Directly North East of Prudhoe bay Alaska.

I am sure somebody that knows how to retrieve flight tracker data directly could get a better fix (I don't know how to do that).
flight tracker.png
This is a nice data point.

I tried to find informations about the thickness of sea ice near Prudhoe Bay, the best I could find is a study (https://espis.boem.gov/final reports/3379.pdf ) of 1999-2000 where they measured the ice thickness at a point called 'Dinkum' on the following map:


1700073662218.png
Content from External Source
The following figure gives the measured sea ice thickness (the topmost graph):


1700073765185.png
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In early February the ice thickness was about 1 meter, rising to ~1.5 meters near end February-beginning of March, occasionaly reaching almost two meters maximum in the following months.

I do not expect a greater ice thickness in 2023 compared to 1999-2000, given the costant warming trend of the globe (2023 will probably set the new hottest year record). So, I would expect a sea ice thickness of about 1m or even less in the neighborhood of Prudhoe Bay in early February 2023 (if someone can get better data, they're welcomed).

I have no clue about how sea ice resists impacts (nor the characteristics of the impactor), but it does seem quite possible to me for an object 'about the size of a small car' impacting one meter-thick ice at, say, 200-300 km/hour (typical terminal velocities in air), to bore through the ice and disappear in the sea below (yet again, if someone has better informations they're welcomed).
 
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You appear to agree that they are lying to us.
That, of course, is NOT what @Ravi said. You appear to be all too eager to call it "lying". Unless you have a legitimate need to know, it's appropriate that you not be told. Don't let the conspiracist mind-set cloud your ability to judge the situation honestly, please. Your personal curiosity is not the primary focus of the American military, nor should it be.
 
This was the first time in RECORDED US HISTORY that aircraft fired live munitions at a flying object in anger over US territory.
Thank you for providing the source!
You misquoted VanHerck, making your statement wrong.
Article:
On February 25, 1942, an infamous false alarm saw American military units unleash a torrent of anti-aircraft fire in the skies over Los Angeles.

It was just after 3 a.m. when the shooting started. Following reports of an unidentified object in the skies, troops in Santa Monica unleashed a barrage of anti-aircraft and .50 caliber machine gun fire. Before long, many of the city’s other coastal defense weapons had joined in.

“Powerful searchlights from countless stations stabbed the sky with brilliant probing fingers,” the Los Angeles Times wrote, “while anti-aircraft batteries dotted the heavens with beautiful, if sinister, orange bursts of shrapnel.”

Chaos reigned over the next several minutes. It appeared that Los Angeles was under attack, yet many of those who looked skyward saw nothing but smoke and the glare of ack-ack fire.

“Imagination could have easily disclosed many shapes in the sky in the midst of that weird symphony of noise and color,” Coastal Artillery Corps Colonel John G. Murphy later wrote. “But cold detachment disclosed no planes of any type in the sky—friendly or enemy.”

For others, however, the threat appeared to be very real. Reports poured in from across the city describing Japanese aircraft flying in formation, bombs falling and enemy paratroopers. There was even a claim of a Japanese plane crash landing in the streets of Hollywood. “I could barely see the planes, but they were up there all right,” a coastal artilleryman named Charles Patrick later wrote in a letter. “I could see six planes, and shells were bursting all around them. Naturally, all of us fellows were anxious to get our two-cents’ worth in and, when the command came, everybody cheered like a son of a gun.”

The barrage eventually continued for over an hour. By the time a final “all-clear” order was given later that morning, Los Angeles’ artillery batteries had pumped over 1,400 rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition into the sky.

It was only in the light of day that the American military units made a puzzling discovery: there appeared to have been no enemy attack. “Although reports were conflicting and every effort is being made to ascertain the facts, it is clear that no bombs were dropped and no planes were shot down,” read a statement from the Army’s Western Defense Command.

Still, the most logical explanation for the firefight is that trigger-happy servicemen and rudimentary radar systems combined to produce a false alarm. In 1983, the Office of Air Force History outlined the events of the L.A. air raid and noted that meteorological balloons had been released prior to the barrage to help determine wind conditions. Their lights and silver color could have been what first triggered the alerts. Once the shooting began, the disorienting combination of searchlights, smoke and anti-aircraft flak might have led gunners to believe they were firing on enemy planes even though none were actually present.
 
You appear to agree that they are lying to us. The only difference between me and you is you are fine with them lying because you assume they have a good reason, and trust the government.
No.. I am saying that they withhold information for reasons. Being silent is not equal to lying.
Just as Ann was saying above.
 
No.. I am saying that they withhold information for reasons. Being silent is not equal to lying.
Just as Ann was saying above.
For example, withholding the FBI report doesn't mean that what they told Rubio/Go8 is false.
 
You appear to agree that they are lying to us. The only difference between me and you is you are fine with them lying because you assume they have a good reason, and trust the government.

This was not just some passing low importance incident. This was the first time in RECORDED US HISTORY that aircraft fired live munitions at a flying object in anger over US territory. To say that recovering the debris was just "not that critical because it was probably something unimportant they shot down" is ridiculous and an exercise in incredulity.


Q: Just one quick follow-up, you know, four shoot downs in eight days, when was the last time that U.S. fighters were scrambled and shot something down over U.S. airspace? I — I can't remember anything, and it just seems like there's a — a large and quick escalation to shooting down objects.

GEN. VANHERCK: (inaudible) to get with our history, I believe this is the first time within United States or America airspace that NORAD or United States Northern Command has taken kinetic action against an airborne object.
Content from External Source
Source: https://www.defense.gov/News/Transc...of-defense-for-homeland-defense-and-hemisphe/

Actually, during WW2 American fighter planes shot down Japanese balloon bombs over the continental United States. Live munitions fired in anger. The locations are mentioned in the footnotes to the following Wiki article.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fu-Go_balloon_bomb

The more history I read the more history I realize that I don't know.
 
Actually, during WW2 American fighter planes shot down Japanese balloon bombs over the continental United States. Live munitions fired in anger. The locations are mentioned in the footnotes to the following Wiki article.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fu-Go_balloon_bomb

The more history I read the more history I realize that I don't know.
Army Air Forces and Navy fighter planes were scrambled on several occasions to intercept balloons, but they had little success due to inaccurate sighting reports, bad weather, and the very high altitude at which they traveled.[27] In all, only about 20 balloons were shot down by U.S. and Canadian pilots.
Content from External Source
On January 4, 1945, the U.S. Office of Censorship sent a confidential memo to newspaper editors and radio broadcasters asking that they give no publicity to balloon incidents; this proved highly effective, with the agency sending another memo three months later stating that cooperation had been "excellent" and that "there is no question that your refusal to publish or broadcast information about these balloons has baffled the Japanese, annoyed and hindered them, and has been an important contribution to security."[35
Content from External Source
 
Unless you have a legitimate need to know, it's appropriate that you not be told
Yes as a US Citizen and US Taxpayer I have a legitimate need to know what our Military is blowing out of our skies, and spending presumably tens of millions of taxpayer dollars in a intercept/shootdown and "failed" recovery operation.

I don't need every last detail about sources and methods just a basic summary of the TRUTH of these incidents. I also DEMAND that the appropriate elected representatives get the FULL classified report.
 
Based on what legal doctrine?
The US Constitution.


Article I, Section 8, Clause 18:

[The Congress shall have Power . . . ] To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Content from External Source
Source: ArtI.S8.C18.7.3 Congress's Investigation and Oversight Powers (1787–1864)
https://constitution.congress.gov/browse/essay/artI-S8-C18-7-3/ALDE_00013659/
 
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not in evidence (excepting the Pres who's been convicted of fraud)
And here is the truth of the matter. Partisan politics and "teams". I am not blind to how politics has been injected into this incident. But good to know what "side" you are backing.

I am on the side of the TRUTH.
 
[The Congress shall have Power . . . ] To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Content from External Source
That reserves a right for Congress, not for you.

Oh - you're violating posting guidelines by not quoting the material you cite. Doing that obliges *everybody* to click through to see what you're referring to. Don't be lazy, and save everyone the effort - if it's worth making reference to, it's worth quoting inline in your post.
 
And here is the truth of the matter. Partisan politics and "teams". I am not blind to how politics has been injected into this incident. But good to know what "side" you are backing.

I am on the side of the TRUTH.
But you are not. You are on the side of "your truth", which is not a thing. If the truth is "we don't know" or "we don't have it", you refuse to accept that, and froth at the mouth and call people liars. Why are you here, if you've already made up your mind? Most of us accumulate evidence from other members and try to figure things out, but you storm in demanding to know unknowable things to which you have no legitimate right, then have conniptions if the evidence doesn't meet your satisfaction, and swear they're lying to you. That's outside the extent of our investigation here. Calm down and participate if you like, but don't blow a gasket if nobody produces exactly the smoking gun that you insist they have. There are some things for which you won't get immediate answers and some things you'll never going to know. Accept that.
 
froth at the mouth and call people liars
Did I call somebody here a liar? I must have missed that. I am saying that it is my opinion based on the available evidence that the government is lying to me re. that they "lost" the debris from 3 of the 4 shootdowns, and that it just was not worth it to keep looking so they gave up. If you want to trust what the Biden admin is saying in the face of what is obvious I think to intellectually honest people here. That is fine. But I suspect you have motives beyond "finding the truth".
 
And here is the truth of the matter. Partisan politics and "teams". I am not blind to how politics has been injected into this incident. But good to know what "side" you are backing.

I am on the side of the TRUTH.
I haven't mentioned any party (Partido liberal would be an option). I'm just saying that it's ok to call government officials liars when they've been convicted of fraud etc, and I'm not defending that.

But it's not ok to call those liars who are not evidenced to be that. If you were on the side of truth, you'd care about this.
 
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. I am saying that it is my opinion based on the available evidence that the government is lying to me re. that they "lost" the debris from 3 of the 4 shootdowns, and that it just was not worth it to keep looking so they gave up.
So did they "lose" debris that they had?
Or did they give up the search because it wasn't worth it to keep looking?
Can't be both.

What does the "available evidence" say?
 
The only difference between me and you is you are fine with them lying because you assume they have a good reason, and trust the government.
Just a general procedural note -- it is probably best to STATE what you believe (and provide evidence) and to ASK what somebody else believes (and ask for their evidence, of course.) Making assertions about somebody else's opinions that have not actually been stated risks mischaracterizing what somebody else believes, and gives the appearance of setting up a straw man to stand in for the other person's positions.
 
I fail to see how the cost is more than a missile. Maybe factor in the cost of fuel but that's a stretch imo.

Surely everyone else involved was just doing their job.
We have 4 sidewinder missiles, each of the jets fighters have "running costs" per flight hour (way more than just fuel). Than you have all the helicopters and refueling planes and radar planes. Than all the resources put into media relations, all the boots on the ground for the "failed" recovery operation. Boats in Lake Huron. This was a massive operation. But yes I would like a exact figure on the total cost. Tens of millions may be low.
 
I fail to see how the cost is more than a missile. Maybe factor in the cost of fuel but that's a stretch imo.

Surely everyone else involved was just doing their job.
Article:
Citing intelligence community reports, Joe Biden said the three things shot down during the last week or so were “most likely balloons.” So how much did it cost to destroy these objects that may only be $12-180 each? As a case study, I considered the Pentagon’s operation over Lake Huron on February 12. According to my analysis of government documents, flight tracking data, and media reports, I estimate that it cost $1,953,127 to shoot down what was “most likely” a balloon.

AIM-9X, 2 missiles fired, $442,798 per unit, $885,597 total cost.
There are two rows for the F-16 showing these data:
F-16, 7 flight hours, $26,927 per flight hour, $188,489 total cost.
KC-135, 7 flight hours, $27,801 per hour, $194,607 total.
E-3, 7.5 hours, $66,126 per hour, $495,945 total.
All told, $1,953,127 in total.
Data via DOD Comptroller, Government Accountability Office, flight trackers, media reports.

Plus the search operation.
 
Article:
Citing intelligence community reports, Joe Biden said the three things shot down during the last week or so were “most likely balloons.” So how much did it cost to destroy these objects that may only be $12-180 each? As a case study, I considered the Pentagon’s operation over Lake Huron on February 12. According to my analysis of government documents, flight tracking data, and media reports, I estimate that it cost $1,953,127 to shoot down what was “most likely” a balloon.

AIM-9X, 2 missiles fired, $442,798 per unit, $885,597 total cost.
There are two rows for the F-16 showing these data:
F-16, 7 flight hours, $26,927 per flight hour, $188,489 total cost.
KC-135, 7 flight hours, $27,801 per hour, $194,607 total.
E-3, 7.5 hours, $66,126 per hour, $495,945 total.
All told, $1,953,127 in total.
Data via DOD Comptroller, Government Accountability Office, flight trackers, media reports.

Plus the search operation.

It can costs thousands of points to have medical investigations that either don't turn up things but or prevent more expensive treatments later, speculative/preventative spending is a thing.

My understanding is that planes and pilots fly on regular training missions and that at least some of these flight hours may have come from hours that would have taken place anyway as training mission but now are not, either way I am not sure the cost delta from normal is so easy to work out.
 
Article:
Citing intelligence community reports, Joe Biden said the three things shot down during the last week or so were “most likely balloons.” So how much did it cost to destroy these objects that may only be $12-180 each? As a case study, I considered the Pentagon’s operation over Lake Huron on February 12. According to my analysis of government documents, flight tracking data, and media reports, I estimate that it cost $1,953,127 to shoot down what was “most likely” a balloon.

AIM-9X, 2 missiles fired, $442,798 per unit, $885,597 total cost.
There are two rows for the F-16 showing these data:
F-16, 7 flight hours, $26,927 per flight hour, $188,489 total cost.
KC-135, 7 flight hours, $27,801 per hour, $194,607 total.
E-3, 7.5 hours, $66,126 per hour, $495,945 total.
All told, $1,953,127 in total.
Data via DOD Comptroller, Government Accountability Office, flight trackers, media reports.

Plus the search operation.
I just think it's a weird way of looking at it.

It costs just as much them doing naff all.

Tax payers arguably got better value for money that day. At least they were doing something. They neutralised a threat.

I am surprised at how much missiles cost. But is that really how much they buy them for?
 
But yes I would like an exact figure on the total cost. Tens of millions may be low.
Arthur, as I see it there is a massive problem here. You want to know the cost, and you want to know the findings of the investigation. BUT the only people capable of giving you any of that information is the government - and you have already told us, multiple times, that you don't trust the government. So how are you planning on getting accurate and believable information from a source you don't trust? This is a serious question, concerning (1) the source of your information and (2) the confidence you have in it. In other words, what would it take to answer your questions to your satisfaction?
 
I am surprised at how much missiles cost. But is that really how much they buy them for?
My source says:
To calculate the unit cost of the AIM-9x missiles, I looked at the Air Force’s FY2022 procurement figures from the DOD Comptroller and divided the total purchase value by the quantity of missiles purchased.
Content from External Source
The DoD Comptroller says:
SmartSelect_20231116-113812_Samsung Notes.jpg
 
My source says:
To calculate the unit cost of the AIM-9x missiles, I looked at the Air Force’s FY2022 procurement figures from the DOD Comptroller and divided the total purchase value by the quantity of missiles purchased.
Content from External Source
The DoD Comptroller says:
Get a similar figure just from $264 million contract to Raytheon to produce 571 missiles = $462,346 per missile.

But again, something feels off looking at it like that.
 
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