TIL, in 1998 it took several days to bring down a rogue 25-story tall Canadian weather balloon even after two F-16s fired more than 1,000 rounds of cannon shells into it. The balloon had severe impact on trans-Atlantic air traffic as airliners were forced to divert from their projected flight paths

Read more: https://www.deseret.com/1998/8/30/19398896/bird-plane-big-runaway-balloon

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  1. Second source: https://www.military.com/daily-news/2023/02/03/when-weather-balloon-went-rogue-two-decades-ago-fighter-jets-fired-it-couldnt-bring-it-down.html

    > A Canadian military spokesperson, a lieutenant named Steve Wills, told BBC that it was difficult to target the balloon, even though it was about the size of a 25-story building, and that the failure to take it out wasn’t embarrassing.

    > “With something like this, which is stationary in the air when the CF-18s are flying very, very fast, it is difficult to shoot it,” Wills said.

    > The CF-18s were reportedly equipped with air-to-air missiles, but Canadian Major Roland Lavoie told AP the pilots refrained from using them.

    > “Citizens would not have appreciated having a missile blowing over their heads,″ he said. “Also, it might be overkill spending a couple of hundred thousand dollars on a missile to shoot down a balloon that’s drifting away.”

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