The United States has stated that the downed Chinese aerostat was equipped with equipment for reconnaissance and data collection.

The United States has stated that the downed Chinese aerostat was equipped with equipment for reconnaissance and data collection.

The Chinese Aerostat, shot down by American military near the coast of South Carolina, was equipped with equipment for radio-electronic reconnaissance and was part of China's intelligence program covering more than 40 countries on five continents, according to The New York Times citing a U.S. State Department representative.

American aircraft, when observing the aerostat, noticed that it was equipped with antennas that could likely receive communication signals and determine the location of objects transmitting them. Solar panels were also installed on the airship to provide power for this equipment.

At the same time, US officials stated that they do not know precisely what data the Chinese aerostat was collecting and what objects it was monitoring. They assured that Washington had taken measures to protect its nuclear objects and inter-agency negotiations.

The US authorities are confident that the manufacturer of the aerostat is linked to China's armed forces. Its name was not specified by the State Department. The department noted that the company's website includes promotional videos of similar aerostats with the same equipment previously flown over the US and other countries.

Washington is considering taking action against the companies linked to China's army and implicated in the Airspace intrusion of the US, declared the State Department. Also, US authorities are keen on evaluating "measures for disclosure and combating of China's massive surveillance which constitutes a threat to the US national security", their allies and partners.

  • At the beginning of February, it was reported that US military had been tracking a Chinese aerostat for several days that was flying in the airspace of the country. China insisted that the balloon was used for meteorological purposes and had accidentally entered United States' territory and deviated from its route. The Pentagon believed that the aircraft was performing surveillance on American strategic targets.
  • On February 4, the US military shot down an aerostat over the Atlantic Ocean. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a protest "against the use of US force to attack a civilian unmanned aerial vehicle".
  • The story of the aerostat unfolds against the backdrop of a crisis in China-US relations. The latest escalation between the two countries occurred after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, which Chinese authorities consider their territory, in 2022. At the end of January, US Air Force General Mike Minihan said that war between the US and China could start due to Taiwan as early as 2025.

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