The DOD gave new details today on the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down on Saturday and the recovery effort.
In short, they say the balloon was around 2,000 pounds and 200 foot tall. It carried a payload the size of a jetliner and may have carried explosives in order to destroy itself.
Wow: Northcom chief Gen. VanHerck says the balloon was up to 200 ft tall, with a payload the size of a jetliner. It weighed "in excess of a couple thousand lbs" and potentially carried explosives " to detonate and destroy the balloon."
— Lara Seligman (@laraseligman) February 6, 2023
The military is working hard to recover the remnants of the balloon which is scattered over the area of 15 football fields.
Here’s more via Washington Examiner:
The U.S. military has had some initial success in recovering aspects of the Chinese spy balloon that it shot down on Saturday after it traversed across the continental United States last week.
U.S. officials acknowledged that the recovery efforts are just getting started, though the Navy and Coast Guard, which are leading the recovery operation, have recovered some of it since a U.S. F-22 fighter jet fired a missile on Saturday afternoon bringing down the Chinese spy balloon over the Atlantic Ocean near the coast of the Carolinas.
The USS Carter Hall and USS Pathfinder are in the area while the former is focused on “collecting debris [and] categorizing the debris since arrival,” the commander of NORAD and USNORTHCOM, Gen. Glen VanHerck, told reporters on Monday, while the latter is focused on using unmanned underwater vehicles to “eventually produce us a map” of the suspected debris field.
There are other naval vessels in the area to ensure the safety and security of the mission, he added. Providing new insight on the size of Chinese surveillance spy balloon, VanHerck said their assessment was that the actual balloon was “up to 200 feet tall,” while he described the payload “as a jet airliner type of size, maybe a regional jet,” and said it probably “weigh in excess of a couple thousand pounds.”
The balloon floated across the continental United States last week, first entering U.S. airspace over the Alaskan Aleutian Islands on Jan. 28, before it entered Canadian airspace, and eventually made its way over northern Idaho.
“They have recovered some remnants off the surface of the sea,” National Security Council coordinator John Kirby told reporters on Monday. “And weather conditions did not permit much undersea surveillance of the debris field yesterday. They think the debris field is about 15 football fields by 15 football fields square. And so it’s sizable, but they’ve identified that and they think that in perhaps even today, but certainly in the coming days they’ll be able to get down there and take a better look at what’s on the bottom of the ocean.”
Defense officials declined to shoot the balloon, which was was at 60,000-65,000 feet in the sky, down due to the threat of falling debris and they also believed the U.S. would gain more intelligence from being able to recover the remnants of the balloon than that China was able to gather from the balloon.
VanHerck also acknowledged that NORAD “did not detect” the previous four Chinese spy balloon incidents, three of which occurred under the previous administration.
The DOD won’t confirm if the balloon actually had explosives. But you can believe if it did – and I’m sure it did, the Chinese were trying to detonate it but couldn’t because we were jamming it.