Another unidentified object flew close to sensitive military sites. It could have been used as a spying tool. The US says it has now shot it down.
It was brought down over Lake Huron, Michigan, at 2.42pm local on Sunday according to President Biden.
An F-16 US jet shot a missile from about 20,000 feet, raising concerns that the plane’s altitude and flight path could pose a danger to civilian aircraft.
This is the fourth incident in a little over a week, and the third in the same days. On Friday and Saturday, objects were also shot down in Alaska and Canada.
An anonymous senior US official described the object’s latest form as “an octagonal structure, strings hanging off, but with no discernible payload”.
The four flying objects
The US military took down a Chinese spy balloon that was believed to have been traveling across North America, and it was located off the Carolina coast.
Friday, October 10, 2010, a second object of “car-sized” size was seen descending over sea ice near Deadhorse in Alaska.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau directed a US warplane on Saturday 11 February to shoot down an unidentified third object high above the Yukon territory in northern Canada.
A fourth unidentified object was downed by a missile fired by US fighter planes on Sunday, 12 February. It was located at the US-Canada border.
Before both the US and Canadian planes arrived to intercept it, authorities restricted airspace above the lake.
On Saturday, radar detected an object above Montana that was causing jets to be scrambled. However, it couldn’t be found and it was believed it might be an error.
The Pentagon stated that the signal was picked-up again on Sunday by North American Aerospace Defense Command, (NORAD).
A statement said that “Based on its flight path, data, we can reasonably link this object to radar signal picked up above Montana, which flew close to sensitive DOD [Department of Defense] Sites.”
“We didn’t assess it as a kinetic military danger to any ground-based object, but we did assess it as a safety flight hazard or threat due to its surveillance capabilities.”
Teams are working together to retrieve the object from the water.
General Glen VanHerck of the US Air Force admitted that he didn’t know the names or locations of the three last objects he shot down.
He said that they were different from the Chinese spy balloon that was downed in South Carolina last week.
He said, “We’re calling these objects, not balloons for a reason” and refused to rule out the possibility that they might be extra-terrestrial.
On Sunday, a spokesperson for the National Security Council stated that the unidentified objects seen over Alaska and Canada were smaller than the Chinese balloon.
“Object was cylindrical”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that teams were looking for the object that was shot over his country.
The stealthy US F-22 stealth plane was brought down over Yukon Territory, northwest of Seattle, on Saturday.
Trudeau stated that recovery teams were on the ground looking for the object and was available to assist reporters.
It is still very much unknown. This is why analysis of the object will be so important.”
Anita Anand, Canada’s defense minister, described it as cylindrical and smaller than the Chinese balloon.
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What is a spy balloon?
According to Ms Anand, the plane was flying at 40,000 feet and was a danger to civilian aircraft. It was brought down approximately 100 miles from the border at 3.41pm ET (8.41 pm GMT) said Ms Anand.
According to the Pentagon, NORAD had seen the object late Friday night over Alaska.
After the object crossed the border, jets were quickly scrambled from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. They were joined by Canadian CF-18 or CP-140 aircraft.
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According to the Pentagon, the US F-22 destroyed the object with an AIM 9X missile after “close coordination” between the two countries.
Trudeau stated that the military would recover the wreckage, and that he had spoken with President Biden to thank NORAD for “keeping watch over North America”.
In the meantime, Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, has stated that the UK will conduct an assessment of security in light of the latest developments.
He stated that the UK and its allies would review what these intrusions into airspace could mean for security. This is yet another indicator of how the global threat landscape is changing.
Beijing had earlier this week admitted that the balloon that was shot down over South Carolina came from China, but claimed it was a “civilian aircraftship”.
It claimed it had entered US airspace for meteorological and scientific research.