The second incident of its kind in two days, the F-22 stealth fighter jet from the United States has taken down a cylindrical object that was not identified over Canada.
Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, announced that the latest shootdown took place in Yukon, a mountainous region with a small population.
Anita Anand, Canada’s Defence Minister, would not speculate as to where the object came.
It was cylindrical in shape, but she said it was smaller that the Chinese balloon that was shot off the coast of South Carolina last week.
She said that the aircraft was flying at 40,000 feet and was a danger to civil air traffic. It was brought down approximately 100 miles from the border at 3.41pm ET (8.41pm GMT) she added.
The Pentagon in the USA stated that the North American Aerospace Defense Command had seen the object late Friday night over Alaska.
After the object crossed into Canada, the US fighter jets were quickly scrambled from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. They were joined by Canadian CF-18s and CP-140s.
According to Brigadier General Patrick Ryder, Pentagon spokesperson, the US F-22 had destroyed the object with an AIM 9X missile after “close coordination between US authorities and Canadian authorities”.
Trudeau stated that the military would recover and analyse the wreckage and that he had spoken with Joe Biden, the US President. He also thanked NORAD for “keeping watch over North America”.
According to the White House, Mr Biden would continue to work closely with Mr Trudeau to “defend airspace”, and added that “leaders discussed the importance to recover the object to determine more details about its purpose or origin.”
This incident occurred the day after an unidentified object flew in the US’s airspace just off Alaska’s coast on Mr Biden’s orders.
According to the White House, it was flying at about 40,000 feet and was as small as a car.
NORAD updated Saturday evening to say it has “no additional details at the moment about the object” including its capabilities, purpose or origin.
It also stated that “arctic weather conditions”, including snow and wind chill, were an “important” factor in the recovery operation.
This object was found just days after the US had downed a Chinese balloon thought to be a spy plane.
China maintained the balloon was an airship for scientific and technological research that had accidentally flown above the US.
It was taken down in fighter jets off South Carolina’s coast. The debris was then collected by the US military shortly afterwards.
According to the Pentagon, most of the balloon was recovered or located.
This incident led to a diplomatic row between China, the US and China. Secretary of State Antony Blinken delayed a trip to China that was due to begin just a few days later.