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CompetitiveYou2034 t1_j73ois3 wrote

Puncture the balloon, let it descend slowly, capture it via a plane trailing extended hooks.

Recap: a historical feat of pilot derring do!

Before we had high speed digital communication with our spy satellites, before we had digital cameras with megapixel lenses ....

1960s - 1980s, US spy satellites took high resolution pictures on actual film.
When a film canister was complete, or had time urgent info, it was ejected under a parachute.
A specially modified plane was waiting, that trailed a long wire with a v-shape, or hooks, which snagged the parachute canopy.
The plane reeled in the wire. Picked up the canister, and flew to have the film processed.
Example: KH-8 Gambit 3 satellite.

Same thing can be done with Chinese spy balloon.

The Chinese payload is a bigger than a film canister, but the capture plane can still fly it's payload for a soft-ish landing, dropped from say 50 feet onto a fireman's jumper rescue inflated balloon.

Seems very fitting, capture a payload from a balloon, drop it onto another balloon.


LightningRodofH8 t1_j77oq96 wrote

I heard the balloon is carrying 1000lb of equipment.

A film canister on a parachute is a long ways away from that.

>One official said the sensor package the balloon is carrying weighs as much as 1,000 pounds. The balloon is large enough and high enough in the air that the potential debris field could stretch for miles, with no control over where it would eventually land.


CompetitiveYou2034 t1_j78jst4 wrote

[Moot response, written after balloon is popped over the Atlantic ocean.]

> The balloon is carrying 1,000 lbs of equipment ....

The capture planes were cargo aircraft that carry many tons. 1,000 lbs would not be a problem, dragged by a wire behind a heavy lifter.

Unfortunately for today's events, those capture planes are in a bone graveyard or sold for scrap. Worse, the pilots trained in such maneuvers are long retired or gone.

If it was deemed needed, the Air Force could easily recreate the 1960s air skyhook capability.

My predictions are:

-- the Chinese will not be brazen enough to repeat the spy balloon anytime soon. Therefore. no need to recreate skyhook.

-- if they do send another, the US will shoot it down in Alaska or over the Pacific ocean as it enters US adiz.


ares5404 t1_j78y8kb wrote

Have drone models of current fighters, programmed with auto-targeting of these things, preferably they will have found something smaller that is capable of refuel with the main fighter and fly in formation with other roles