After a Chinese spy balloon traversed near strategic Andaman Nicobar islands from 60,000 feet earlier this year. Indian military planners are devising plans to launch high-altitude spy balloons, similar to those seen in the United States, with sensors to pick up radio signals and mobile transmissions, which could be used to jam communications or eavesdrop on them.
The US Air Force used a $400,000 AIM-9x Sidewinder missile to take out a Chinese spy balloon at 38,910 feet, and many wondered why the fighter jet didn’t use an internal cannon, which would have been much cheaper than firing a heat seeking missile; well, there’s a history behind not using cannon fire.
In 1998, a rogue Canadian helium-filled weather balloon the size of a 25-story building drifted into Russian airspace to avoid causing any undue international incident. According to news reports from the time, the Canadian CF-18s fired more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition at the balloon, but no air-to-air missiles were used.
However, it had no effect on the balloon, and it continued on towards Iceland before drifting into Russian airspace on the ninth day of its flight. It then returned to Norway before landing on Finland’s Mariehamn Island.
According to Indian defence analysts, to take out such targets at 60,000 feet, India may rely on its Mig-29K or UPG fighter jets, which can fly much higher than any other jet in the IAF fleet and are capable of taking out Chinese spy balloons using the R-73 missile.
In a ballistic flight path, the MiG-29 can reach that Edge of Space flight altitude at supersonic speed and has demonstrated Edge of Space flight up to 72178 feet.