How to pop a balloon

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dyqik
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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by dyqik » Fri Feb 03, 2023 6:14 pm

EACLucifer wrote:
Fri Feb 03, 2023 5:16 pm
The main challenge would be the aircraft needs to get a radar lock, the missile then needs to get a radar lock, and the missiles fuze needs to detect the balloon too. Then there's still the issue of how much damage the warhead would do, and where the damn thing comes down.
The main radar issue is probably that the target is barely moving - most military radars have speed gating active by default to prevent false detections from cars on highways, trains, flocks of birds, ground returns, etc.

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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by Herainestold » Sat Feb 04, 2023 12:40 am

America is obviously spooked by this balloon. Look at the news reports.
China is ahead of America on some aspects of technology. I wonder why America is so worried about this balloon.
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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by dyqik » Sat Feb 04, 2023 1:01 am

Herainestold wrote:
Sat Feb 04, 2023 12:40 am
America is obviously spooked by this balloon. Look at the news reports.
China is ahead of America on some aspects of technology. I wonder why America is so worried about this balloon.
China is not ahead of the US in ballooning.

The US regularly flies two ton balloons at this altitude for 90+ days. It's just that it does it in circumpolar flights around Antarctica for scientific purposes, rather than violating other countries airspace.

The only worrying here is over China's intent in deliberately violating US airspace.

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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by Woodchopper » Sat Feb 04, 2023 6:29 am

Image of the balloon
73EAA98E-649C-4E85-911E-45805F52433C.jpeg
73EAA98E-649C-4E85-911E-45805F52433C.jpeg (23.43 KiB) Viewed 1263 times
Explanation.

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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by bob sterman » Sat Feb 04, 2023 7:15 am

dyqik wrote:
Sat Feb 04, 2023 1:01 am
Herainestold wrote:
Sat Feb 04, 2023 12:40 am
America is obviously spooked by this balloon. Look at the news reports.
China is ahead of America on some aspects of technology. I wonder why America is so worried about this balloon.
China is not ahead of the US in ballooning.

The US regularly flies two ton balloons at this altitude for 90+ days. It's just that it does it in circumpolar flights around Antarctica for scientific purposes, rather than violating other countries airspace.

The only worrying here is over China's intent in deliberately violating US airspace.
Not saying US has violated anyone's airspace yet - but they are into military balloons...

US Military to Use High-Altitude Balloons Against China, Russia: Report
https://www.thedefensepost.com/2022/07/ ... -balloons/

What We Know About The High-Altitude Balloons Recently Lingering Off America’s Coastlines
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/4 ... s-recently

The Pentagon’s next big weapon: Really big balloons

https://fortune.com/2022/07/05/the-pent ... -balloons/

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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by Woodchopper » Sat Feb 04, 2023 8:39 am

dyqik wrote:
Fri Feb 03, 2023 6:14 pm
EACLucifer wrote:
Fri Feb 03, 2023 5:16 pm
The main challenge would be the aircraft needs to get a radar lock, the missile then needs to get a radar lock, and the missiles fuze needs to detect the balloon too. Then there's still the issue of how much damage the warhead would do, and where the damn thing comes down.
The main radar issue is probably that the target is barely moving - most military radars have speed gating active by default to prevent false detections from cars on highways, trains, flocks of birds, ground returns, etc.
Yes, and they are also programmed to ignore things in the air that could be decoys.

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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by Chris Preston » Sat Feb 04, 2023 9:20 am

There is a second balloon this one lost over Latin America.
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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by dyqik » Sat Feb 04, 2023 1:00 pm

bob sterman wrote:
Sat Feb 04, 2023 7:15 am
dyqik wrote:
Sat Feb 04, 2023 1:01 am
Herainestold wrote:
Sat Feb 04, 2023 12:40 am
America is obviously spooked by this balloon. Look at the news reports.
China is ahead of America on some aspects of technology. I wonder why America is so worried about this balloon.
China is not ahead of the US in ballooning.

The US regularly flies two ton balloons at this altitude for 90+ days. It's just that it does it in circumpolar flights around Antarctica for scientific purposes, rather than violating other countries airspace.

The only worrying here is over China's intent in deliberately violating US airspace.
Not saying US has violated anyone's airspace yet - but they are into military balloons...

US Military to Use High-Altitude Balloons Against China, Russia: Report
https://www.thedefensepost.com/2022/07/ ... -balloons/

What We Know About The High-Altitude Balloons Recently Lingering Off America’s Coastlines
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/4 ... s-recently

The Pentagon’s next big weapon: Really big balloons

https://fortune.com/2022/07/05/the-pent ... -balloons/
Yeah, I assumed there were military ones as well, but NASA ballooning is much easier to find facts about, and I know them from my work.


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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by EACLucifer » Sat Feb 04, 2023 10:04 pm

Better footage

This was obviously achieved with a missile (there's footage elsewhere of the contrails of a jet and a missile launch near the balloon), I'm curious about what kind was used. I doesn't even necessarily need to have been an air-to-air missile.

The jet that shot it down was reportedly using the callsign "Frank", a reference, one must presume, to Frank Luke, an American first world war fighter pilot who was famous for being a "balloon ace" and shooting down rather a lot of German reconnaissance balloons.

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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by Herainestold » Sat Feb 04, 2023 10:15 pm

I hope the debris isn't radioactive.
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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by Boustrophedon » Sat Feb 04, 2023 10:18 pm

dyqik wrote:
Fri Feb 03, 2023 6:14 pm
EACLucifer wrote:
Fri Feb 03, 2023 5:16 pm
The main challenge would be the aircraft needs to get a radar lock, the missile then needs to get a radar lock, and the missiles fuze needs to detect the balloon too. Then there's still the issue of how much damage the warhead would do, and where the damn thing comes down.
The main radar issue is probably that the target is barely moving - most military radars have speed gating active by default to prevent false detections from cars on highways, trains, flocks of birds, ground returns, etc.
From the footage of the poppage it would seem that the radar lock was not on the balloon but on the payload, that is the rather more important and interesting part, rather than the larger and more poppable part.
Last edited by Boustrophedon on Sat Feb 04, 2023 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by EACLucifer » Sat Feb 04, 2023 10:18 pm

Herainestold wrote:
Sat Feb 04, 2023 10:15 pm
I hope the debris isn't radioactive.
It won't be you tedious ignoranus. Those massive solar panels on all the footage indicate very clearly how it was powered.

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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by EACLucifer » Sat Feb 04, 2023 10:25 pm

Boustrophedon wrote:
Sat Feb 04, 2023 10:18 pm
dyqik wrote:
Fri Feb 03, 2023 6:14 pm
EACLucifer wrote:
Fri Feb 03, 2023 5:16 pm
The main challenge would be the aircraft needs to get a radar lock, the missile then needs to get a radar lock, and the missiles fuze needs to detect the balloon too. Then there's still the issue of how much damage the warhead would do, and where the damn thing comes down.
The main radar issue is probably that the target is barely moving - most military radars have speed gating active by default to prevent false detections from cars on highways, trains, flocks of birds, ground returns, etc.
From the footage of he poppage it would seem that the radar lock was not on the balloon but on the payload, that is the rather more important and interesting part, rather than the larger and more poppable part.
Yes, it does look like that was the part that was hit. To achieve the shootdown with a missile required both a shot accurate enough to get the warhead close, and something to set off the proximity fuze. Modern missile radars, though, are extremely capable compared to older models. I'm assuming at this point that it was an AMRAAM, as that would lock onto the biggest radar return (the gubbins, not the balloon envelope), and have the range to get that high, especially as the missile was launched while the jet that launched it was in a climb.

Regarding speed gating, it's important to remember that modern fighters aren't just meant to shoot down each other, but also helicopters and drones, which can hover.

ETA: Ignore the speculation, apparently it was an AIM-9X Sidewinder that was used. It could be it managed to lock onto the target itself with its imaging infrared seeker, but its also possible it was steered most of the way there by the F22 that launched it as missile has a datalink so that even if the missile doesn't know where it is, the jet does.

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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by bolo » Sat Feb 04, 2023 11:02 pm

The WaPo article about the shootdown says the balloon was at 60,000 to 65,000 feet, which is a lot less than the 43km cited in lpm's original post, and a lot easier to reach with fairly ordinary weapons. Did the balloon descend on its own, or was the suggestion of 43km just wrong?

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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by dyqik » Sat Feb 04, 2023 11:37 pm

bolo wrote:
Sat Feb 04, 2023 11:02 pm
The WaPo article about the shootdown says the balloon was at 60,000 to 65,000 feet, which is a lot less than the 43km cited in lpm's original post, and a lot easier to reach with fairly ordinary weapons. Did the balloon descend on its own, or was the suggestion of 43km just wrong?
Typically a long duration balloon will gradually sink as helium escapes, but it'll also change altitude with air temperature at altitude, unless it's configured to counteract that. I believe that this balloon had sufficient control capabilities for it to be commanded to choose different altitudes, but as helium is lost, it's maximum altitude will drop.

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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by dyqik » Sat Feb 04, 2023 11:51 pm

Also, Scott Manley asked if this is the first air to air kill by an F22? First confirmed one, quite possibly.

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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by EACLucifer » Sun Feb 05, 2023 12:07 am

dyqik wrote:
Sat Feb 04, 2023 11:51 pm
Also, Scott Manley asked if this is the first air to air kill by an F22? First confirmed one, quite possibly.
It is. F-22s have done a lot of intercept missions of things like Tu-95s that get too close for comfort, and the've conducted ground attack missions, including against Wagner group in Syria, but this is the first aerial target a Raptor has destroyed that wasn't a target drone.

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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by dyqik » Sun Feb 05, 2023 1:28 am

EACLucifer wrote:
Sun Feb 05, 2023 12:07 am
dyqik wrote:
Sat Feb 04, 2023 11:51 pm
Also, Scott Manley asked if this is the first air to air kill by an F22? First confirmed one, quite possibly.
It is. F-22s have done a lot of intercept missions of things like Tu-95s that get too close for comfort, and the've conducted ground attack missions, including against Wagner group in Syria, but this is the first aerial target a Raptor has destroyed that wasn't a target drone.
Somewhere, an F-22 pilot is being heavily ribbed by some older pilots...

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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by shpalman » Sun Feb 05, 2023 11:01 am

EACLucifer wrote:
Sat Feb 04, 2023 10:25 pm
Regarding speed gating, it's important to remember that modern fighters aren't just meant to shoot down each other, but also helicopters and drones, which can hover.
The difficult thing there is spotting the slow moving target against the ground clutter when looking down at it; there wouldn't be ground clutter in the sky when looking up at the balloon.
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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by dyqik » Sun Feb 05, 2023 11:31 am

shpalman wrote:
Sun Feb 05, 2023 11:01 am
EACLucifer wrote:
Sat Feb 04, 2023 10:25 pm
Regarding speed gating, it's important to remember that modern fighters aren't just meant to shoot down each other, but also helicopters and drones, which can hover.
The difficult thing there is spotting the slow moving target against the ground clutter when looking down at it; there wouldn't be ground clutter in the sky when looking up at the balloon.
Certainly I didn't intend to suggest that it was impossible because of speed gating, just that you have to turn down the threshold to see it, which is not the default set up.

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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by EACLucifer » Mon Feb 06, 2023 3:53 am

China's whinging about the balloon shootdown is hilarious. If it really was a weather balloon that got out of control, the correct response would be "We're both relieved and grateful that you were able to deal with the situation without anyone getting hurt, and apologise for it happening in the first place".

Then again, China's a fascist regime that puts people in camps due to their ethnicity and literally makes money selling their hair.

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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by noggins » Mon Feb 06, 2023 8:15 am

1BEE2813-84A2-4509-899B-7E089EB6CF25.jpeg
1BEE2813-84A2-4509-899B-7E089EB6CF25.jpeg (114.83 KiB) Viewed 932 times
.

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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by IvanV » Mon Feb 06, 2023 9:34 am

EACLucifer wrote:
Mon Feb 06, 2023 3:53 am
China's whinging about the balloon shootdown is hilarious. If it really was a weather balloon that got out of control, the correct response would be "We're both relieved and grateful that you were able to deal with the situation without anyone getting hurt, and apologise for it happening in the first place".

Then again, China's a fascist regime that puts people in camps due to their ethnicity and literally makes money selling their hair.
China is used to getting away with stuff and bullying and pushing the envelope. Unsurprisingly it whinges, because it hopes to carry on getting away with stuff and bullying and pushing the envelope, even though this time it didn't.

I'm pleased the US shot it down and, which the Chinese seem rather more upset about, cancelled Blinken's trip to Beijing. It doesn't matter that it may be over something that proves not very important. It's about the messaging around getting away with stuff.

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Re: How to pop a balloon

Post by Boustrophedon » Mon Feb 06, 2023 1:14 pm

IvanV wrote:
Mon Feb 06, 2023 9:34 am

pushing the envelope.
Lol.

Seriously it's really quite difficult to shoot a high altitude balloon down. Even WW1 Zeppelins full of hydrogen could absorb hundreds of rounds of .303 incendiary without going down in either meaning of the word.
With this one at 60,000' you have to get up there in the first place, then find it, though I reckon it would give a good radar return, and then you have to put enough holes in it, for the gas to get out quickly. Do modern fighters even have guns? The aircraft with really good guns, like the A10 are for ground attack and are not capable of getting up that high. So missiles it is and those will go for the payload not the balloon. I can imagine quite a few meeting to discuss just how to bring it down.
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