Even if you took the PRC at their word, a weather balloon isn't just a weather balloon. Up-to-date weather data is needed to inform mission planning for cruise and ballistic missiles. We understate the importance on weather on the performance of ballistic and hypersonic missiles. Accurate weather, topographic, gravity, and geodetic data is militarily important. Up to date atmospheric data is crucial for the operation of OTH radars as well as the accuracy of ballistic and hypersonic vehicles.
Review of US Military Research and Development
View attachment 106960
Flight Test Evaluation of RV Accuracy
View attachment 106961
Standard Target Materials for Autonomous Precision Strike Weapons
View attachment 106962View attachment 106963
ICBM Reentry Vehicle Navigation System Development at Honeywell
View attachment 106964
It is not about "believing" the PRC's claims.
No one is doubting that there can be military value in this. There can be military value in anything.
Huawei has military value by developing strong wireless technology.
BYD has military value because of battery technology.
You know how many jerry cans of diesel a command post requires to run generators 24/7?
All those Chinese people (not just citizens) getting PhDs or post-grad research in MIT/CalTech/other US/Western Universities can go back to China and help the military. In fact, the DOJ is already claiming this. Since you have 1000's of such people, inevitably there are going to be some. So you can find any enemy that you want to create.
Do you just execute them all as traitors (like blowing up every balloon)?
I'm not saying US is wrong to blow up the balloon, it is their airspace, they have a right to manage it as they see fit. However, this theatrical production is a joke. Worse than the performance of the PRC departments that you believe to be incompetent. If you think that the US narrative has captured the majority of the mindshare of the US people, then the issue is not with the PRC's PR, but the education level of Americans.
The balloon has had EC-series ELINT aircraft, all kinds of fighters, U2s, NORAD systems, satellites, etc. available to track it. It is doubtful that they do not have an idea of transmission power, frequency, latency, signal reception capability from antenna arrays. From this they can probably derive packet size or even intercept any transmission if non-encrypted. They know the average power generation ability from the size of the solar array, and can calculate likely capabilities from that.
I can theorize this with absolutely zero professional RF/electrical knowledge. I would only hope that the US military has access to far smarter and more capable people than myself to decipher what the balloon was up to.
If they thought there was absolutely anything valuable to be obtained from this balloon, it would have been quietly brought down and recovered as intact as possible instead of gloriously exploded by a Sidewinder over the ocean. This is just common sense.
We are really supposed to believe all their conjecturing in this press conference-cum-sitcom? It's a joke because they stupidly painted themselves into a corner.
- If it is not a super high tech spy device, then you spent millions to blow up a science project.
- If it is a super high tech spy device, then it basically completed its mission before you did anything.
So they conjure up all these idiot theories to confuse people and hopefully not think about the two very simple explanations above.