Does a viral video show a close-up of the F-22 Raptor fighter jet shooting down the spy balloon from China?!
Take a look at the viral video, and find out what the facts really are!
Viral Video : Close-Up Of F-22 Shooting Spy Balloon From China!
This video is going viral on WhatsApp and social media platform, claiming to show a close-up of the F-22 Raptor fighter jet shooting down the spy balloon from China.
Screenshots of the video showing the F-22 fighter jet firing a missile at the spy balloon have also been used in some editorials in pro-CCP websites, and even a Falun Gong-affiliated website!
Recommended : Why US Shot Down Chinese Spy Balloon With Missile!
Truth : Viral Video Of F-22 Shooting Down Spy Balloon Is From Game!
This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS circulating on WhatsApp and social media platforms, and here are the reasons why…
Fact #1 : F-22 Shoot Down Audio Is Genuine
First, I should point out that the audio in the video is genuine, and accurately depicts the communication between the F-22 pilots and Huntress (NORAD’s Eastern Air Defense Sector Controller) on an open channel that anyone can listen to.
The audio clip was apparently recorded by Ken Harrell, a 68 year-old retiree and aviation hobbyist, who was listening in. This was confirmed by US Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek:
The audio is authentic and depicts communication from the 1st Fighter Wing pilot confirming the aerial target was destroyed. It’s important to clarify this audio is communication between the pilot and air traffic control that can be heard by anyone on the same frequency
Fact #2 : Audio Subtitles Are Wrong
However, the subtitles are mangled and at least partly wrong. Here is an abridged transcript of the audio communication between the F-22 pilots and air traffic control (Huntress) during the spy balloon shoot-down.
HUNTRESS : Five miles offshore.
FRANK01 : Frank One is switches hot.
FRANK02 : Frank Two is switches hot.
HUNTRESS : HUNTRESS. Six miles offshore.
FRANK01 : FRANK01. Splash one! TOI 1.
HUNTRESS : HUNTRESS copy. Splash.
EAGLE02 : That is a t-kill. The balloon is completely destroyed.
EAGLE01 : There appears to be metal chaff cloud. It’s definitely metal breaking apart. Screen for an altitude check.
Fact #3 : Viral Video Was Edited From Game Video!
I traced the viral video to a YouTube channel called Growling Sidewinder, which posted the original video on 6 February 2023.
It appears that someone edited Growling Sidewinder’s video to remove the title sequence at the beginning, and the credit at the end, before sharing it on WhatsApp and social media.
Growling Sidewinder clearly stated that the video used the real audio recording, but the video itself was recreated using Digital Combat Simulator (DCS) – a flight simulation game released in 2008 by Eagle Dynamics and The Fighter Collection.
Last year, I fact checked a viral video purportedly depicting Russian forces shooting down NATO jets and helicopters. In that example, the fake news creator used footage from the video game, ArmA 3 (Armed Assault 3).
Fact #4 : F-22 Fired At A Long Distance
When I watched the video, I immediately knew that it was fake, because it showed the F-22 engaging the Chinese spy balloon at about the same altitude, and at a very short distance.
What many people may not realise is that the F-22 fighter jet fired its AIM-9X Sidewinder missile at a considerable distance away from the spy balloon. This was confirmed by numerous videos recorded by the public from a distance.
In addition, we also know that the F-22 fighter jet was only able to attain an altitude of 58,000 feet, while the Chinese spy balloon was much higher – at about 65,000 feet. The Chinese spy balloon was floating approximately 7,000 feet (2.1 km) above the F-22 fighter jet!
Based on the audio transcript, it took about 7 seconds for the Sidewinder missile, which travels at over Mach 2.5, to hit the spy balloon, roughly placing the F-22 about 6 kilometres away from the balloon when it fired the missile.
Fact #5 : The Spy Balloon Did Not Explode
If you watch the publicly released videos of the AIM-9X missile hitting the spy balloon – and there are many, you would quickly realise that the viral video is fake, because it showed a large explosion.
The actual videos only show black and white smoke when the missile exploded next to the spy balloon’s payload.
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.
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