In all situations keep it simple stupid (KISS) some pundits suggest that the 1950s spike in UFO sightings was caused by high-altitude balloons testing things for the US military.
The first aerial bombardment took place in 1849 when SMS Volcano launched bombs underneath balloons to hit Venice. In the second world war Japan used Fu-Go incendiary balloons to target North America, the only fatalities on American soil in world war two was when six civilians came across an unexploded Fu-Go in Oregon. Sadly it killed them all.
So I find myself chuckling to myself as I read breathless reporting of new Chinese spy tech.
If NORAD really has just managed to start tracking the balloon then China has won an important intelligence battle finding such a big hole in air defences.
The reality is they will have known exactly when and where it took off. Unfortunately, plenty of ground observers have seen this flight so there needs to be a narrative to go with it.
The war in Ukraine has shown that simple low-cost drones can have a larger impact than multi-million dollar legacy vendor offerings.
Less is more and better for creating low-cost FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt)