The recent incident of a Chinese surveillance balloon drifting over US territory has once again brought attention to the potential use of balloons for military purposes. As the world watches and waits for more information, it is important to remember that, as of yet, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that the recent spy balloon was carrying air-launched drones.
The concept of launching air-launched drones from high altitude platforms, such as balloons, is not a new one. The idea of using balloons as a launching platform for drones has been explored for years, with various tests and demonstrations conducted in different parts of the world. In 2019 Aerospace Testing International reported that a Canadian company working in Europe conducted a test that resulted in the successful launch and recovery of a balloon launched drone designated as the HiDRON from an altitude of 82,000 feet. According to the company website “The HiDRON is a unique balloon-launched unmanned glider capable of high-altitude flight; autonomous and soaring flight modes; and operates well in the cold stratospheric environment.”
It is understandable that the recent incident has caused concern and speculation about the potential use of balloons for launching air-launched drones. The use of balloons for military purposes, including the gathering of intelligence, is not a new idea, and it is clear that the Chinese military has shown interest in exploring this technology. However, it is important to remember that, as of yet, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that the recent spy balloon was carrying drones, or that the technology is currently being used for this purpose.
As the world watches and waits for more information, it is crucial to maintain a level of objectivity and to avoid jumping to conclusions based on speculation and conjecture. While the use of balloons for launching air-launched drones is a possibility that should be taken seriously, it is important to let the facts speak for themselves and to avoid spreading misinformation.