Pentagon Releases Spy Airplane Pilot’s Astonishing Shut-Up With Chinese language Balloon

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U-2 pilot flying excessive above the Chinese language spy balloon took a close-up photograph of the massive white orb only a day earlier than the Air Power shot it down off the South Carolina coast.

The photograph reveals the highest of the pilot’s helmet contained in the U-2 cockpit with the balloon flying under.

It was taken Feb. 3 because the balloon “hovered over the Central Continental United States,” in keeping with the caption offered by the Protection Division.

The Pentagon launched the picture Wednesday, greater than two weeks after the balloon made worldwide headlines because it transited america.

The balloon was downed on Feb. 4 by an F-22 fighter jet firing a AIM-9X Sidewinder missile. The strike passed off as soon as the balloon was now not over land however was nonetheless inside U.S. territorial waters.

The U-2 Dragon Girl is a high-altitude U.S. spy airplane that has been in service for the reason that Fifties.

The Pentagon introduced final Friday that Navy ships and submersibles had accomplished restoration of the large balloon and its payload, which fell in items into the Atlantic Ocean.

The payload was recovered from the ocean flooring and is being analyzed by the FBI, Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh mentioned Wednesday.

The shootdown led to a few different smaller objects additionally being shot down by Air Power jets inside a interval of eight days: one over Alaska, one over Canada and one over Lake Huron. Searches for the Alaska and Lake Huron objects have ended.