The majority of the destroyed Chinese surveillance balloon shot down over South Carolina this month has been recovered, the Pentagon confirmed.
The Department of Defense made the announcement Wednesday at the same time they published a never-before-seen photo of the balloon taken from the cockpit of a military jet.
PENTAGON RELEASES U-2 PHOTO OF CHINESE SPY BALLOON IN FLIGHT BEFORE IT WAS SHOT DOWN
“The majority of the balloon, including the payload, was recovered,” said Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh.
According to officials, the payload on board the balloon was massive — recovered technology includes surveillance cameras, solar panels and other equipment.
The balloon was shot down off the coast of South Carolina by U.S. military fighter jets on Saturday afternoon. A senior U.S. military official said that an F-22 was used to bring down the balloon at 58,000 feet with a single A9X missile.
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China claimed that the airship was a civilian research craft that was blown far off course by prevailing winds, and that it regrets the incident.
U.S. officials later admitted that the three later objects shot down likely had a “benign purpose” and were detected after the U.S. military set its radar system to detect slow-moving balloons.
The Department of Defense has released of a photo of the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down earlier this month off the coast of South Carolina after it had traversed the country.
The photo, obtained by Fox News Digital, was taken Feb. 3 by one of the U-2 pilots. It shows a U.S. Air Force pilot looking down at the suspect Chinese surveillance balloon as it hovered over the central continental U.S.
Fox News’ Bradford Betz, Liz Friden and Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.