Flight Radar24 shows these high altitude balloons launched, August 28 between 9:30 and 12:30 UTC: HBAL654 (N874TH AC06E3) HBAL655 (N875TH AC0A9A) HBAL656 (N876TH ACOE51) and HBAL657 (N877TH AC1208.)
Helium Balloons Launched over California Today, as U.S. Military Tests new Warfare Techniques
By Brenda Norrell, Censored News, August 28, 2023
A series of high-altitude balloons were launched today from Inyokern airport in the Indian Wells District of California, southwest of Death Valley, and are now above central California.
This comes as a separate balloon has crossed Indian country and the northern border. It is owned by Aerostar of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which carries out surveillance, intelligence and reconnaissance and received a new U.S. military contract on July 28.
Aviation Week reports on the U.S. Army's plans for high-altitude balloons:
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama—The U.S. Army has validated requirements for two types of uncrewed, high-altitude aircraft—balloons and solar-powered fixed wing—with the goal of using them not only for surveillance but also targeting, navigation and kinetic strikes.
The Army wants multiple types of platforms of both types that can be deployed and connected in a “daisy chain” to see beyond where its long-range systems can fire, such as the upcoming Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) and Mid-Range Capability. While the first push has been for long-range targeting, there are also annexes to the original capability document that are in various stages that call for active electronic warfare payloads, cyber operations, network extension, advanced precision navigation and targeting, and “launched effects,” Mulack said during the Space and Missile Defense Symposium here Aug. 8. https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/space/what-us-army-plans-high-altitude-balloons-solar-aircraft