Tally One! F-22 Scores First Air-To-Air "Kill" Against a.. Balloon
On Feb. 4, a USAF F-22 shot down & scored its first air-to-air "kill" when it shot down the Chinese spy balloon that made headlines for several days. The F-22, based at Joint Base Langley-Eustice and part of the 1st Fighter Wing, departed the base and climbed up to FL580 over the coast of South Carolina. The Raptor fired a single AIM-9X Sidewinder missile at the balloon, successfully popping it. The balloon fell into the Atlantic ocean, roughly 6 miles off the coast & into ~50 feet of water. No injuries were reported (except for the balloon.) The balloon was scooped out of the ocean by the Navy/Coast Guard and has been taken to be examined further. This isn't the first time a Chinese balloon has been spotted over U.S. airspace; a similar instance occurred at least 3 times during the previous presidency.
Photo courtesy: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/downed-chinese-balloon-was-200-feet-tall-us-military-says-rcna69371
Article source: https://www.defense.gov/News/News-Stories/Article/Article/3288543/f-22-safely-shoots-down-chinese-spy-balloon-off-south-carolina-coast/