The Big Number: Did the U.S. use a $400,000 missile to shoot down a balloon costing as little as $12?

by | Feb 17, 2023 | Stock Market

A balloon declared “missing in action” by a hobbyist club has emerged as a candidate explaining one of the three UFOs shot down a week ago by Sidewinder missiles launched by U.S. fighter jets. That’s according to an Aviation Week report, which identified the club as the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade, or NIBBB.

The report quoted the founder of a Silicon Valley company that makes what are called “pico balloons” for hobbyists and other customers. “I tried contacting our military and the FBI — and just got the runaround — to try to enlighten them on what a lot of these things probably are. And they’re going to look not too intelligent to be shooting them down,” said Ron Meadows, the founder of the company, Scientific Balloon Solutions. Small pico balloons can typically be purchased for $12 to $180 each, according to Aviation Week. Meanwhile, the estimated cost of one Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missile is about $400,000. U.S. Air Force F-16s and F-22s used such missiles — made by Raytheon
— during the past weekend to down the objects that were spotted over Canada’s Yukon, over northern Alaska and over Lake Huron. The Illinois club’s pico balloon was projected to have been floating high over the Yukon Territory on Feb. 11, which is the same day a Lockheed Martin
F-22 shot down an unidentified object — on an order given by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in coordination with President Joe Biden — in that area, the Aviation Week report said. Don’t miss: Biden promises ‘sharper rules’ for UFOs, as one downed object may have come from hobby club North American Aerospa …

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