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Authored by Andrew Thornebrooke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Audio recordings of radio chatter taken during the United States’ shoot down of a Chinese spy balloon earlier this month may provide insights into how the military later shot down an unidentified object over Lake Huron.

A U.S. F-22 Raptor fighter flies during an aerial display at Farnborough Airshow, Hampshire, on July 14, 2008. (Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images)

In over 20 minutes of radio chatter, U.S. pilots and ground teams can be heard discussing their approach and shoot down of the Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina.

The audio was captured by aviation radio enthusiast Ken Harrell and first published by The Drive. The Air Force declined to share its own audio files but confirmed the authenticity of the recordings to The Epoch Times.

In one exchange, the lead fighter pilot and his wingman can both be heard preparing their missiles to fire on the balloon, suggesting that the wingman was prepared to take down the balloon immediately following a failed attempt by the lead pilot.

The primary players you will see in the transcript and hear in the audio are:

FRANK01 is the lead F-22 that took the kill shot. FRANK02 is its wingman. As we reported Saturday, those call signs were an homage to World War One flying ace and U.S. Army Air Service First Lieutenant Frank Luke Jr, a Medal of Honor recipient better known as the “Arizona Balloon Buster” who destroyed 14 German balloons and four aircraft.

HUNTRESS is the U.S. Air Force’s Eastern Air Defense Sector, or EADS, part of the U.S.-Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which was controlling the operation from the ground in Rome, New York.

EAGLE01 is an F-15C and EAGLE02 is its wingman. The Eagles backed-up the F-22s and used their SNIPER targeting pods to record the shootdown and mark areas of debris for recovery.

TIGER09 is a Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. 

TOI is Target Of Interest, in this case the Chinese spy balloon.

Author’s notes are seen in italics. -The Drive

“FRANK01 is switches hot,” the lead pilot says.

“FREANK02 is switches hot,” the wingman follows.

The two F-22 stealth fighters’ call signs, FRANK01 and FRANK02, were named after World War I flying ace Frank Luke Jr., who earned the epithet of “Arizona Balloon Buster” for his successful shootdowns of 14 German balloons during the conflict.

Notably, the brief exchange may reveal exactly what happened during the United States shoot down of an unidentified object over Lake Huron on Feb. 12.

During that encounter, the lead pilot fired an AIM-9X missile at the object, the same type of missile used on the Chinese spy balloon and two other unidentified objects this month.

In one portion of the recording, an F-15C pilot can be heard expressing frustration over actually locking onto the balloon.

“I’m having trouble keeping a radar lock for any more than a second on him,” said the pilot, adding “I will keep trying.

Read the entire transcript here via The Drive.


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