On Sunday, the US military took down a high-altitude object above Lake Huron. This was the fourth such operation in just eight days in North America.
The F-16 fighter jet brought down the object as it flew near the Canadian border at 20,000ft. After the US had shot down unidentified objects in Canada’s Yukon on Saturday, and Alaska on Friday, the incident occurred.
These three incidents occurred approximately one week after the US shot down a Chinese spy plane off the coast South Carolina. China claims the balloon that traveled across US and Canadian airspace was a civilian aircraft performing meteorological research.
General Glen VanHerck of North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) said that the decision to shoot down an object over Lake Huron was made after the joint US-Canadian military commander had been following it since Saturday, when it appeared to have entered American airspace.
Norad discovered that the object had flown close to sensitive military sites in Montana. The Chinese spy balloon also flew over Montana, which is home to nuclear intercontinental ballistic Missiles.
VanHerck stated that Norad had classified the three targets shot down over three days as “objects”, and stressed that he wasn’t going to classify them as balloons.
They are called objects because they have a purpose. It is not possible to classify how they stay up. He said that it could be a gaseous balloon within a structure or a propulsion system.
His description was in contradiction to comments made by Chuck Schumer (Democratic Senate majority leader), who previously said Jake Sullivan, national security adviser, had told him that the US thought they were balloons.
VanHerck stated that the USA and Canada were both investigating, but they had not received enough data to determine the origin of the objects. He said that the objects were similar in size and traveled at wind speed.
“I would be cautious and urge you not to attribute it any particular country. He said that we don’t know.
Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, stated that teams were working to recover Saturday’s object. Officials have described it as cylindrical in shape. Trudeau stated that there is still much to learn about the object.
A spokesperson for the National Security Council stated that the first two objects were not “closely related” and were smaller than the Chinese balloon. The spokesperson stated that they would not be able to definitively identify them until they can recover the debris.
Melissa Dalton, top Pentagon official responsible for homeland security, stated that President Joe Biden acted out of “abundances of caution”, partly due to the possibility of objects posing a threat in civilian aviation.
When Dalton was asked why Norad suddenly detected so many threats, Dalton replied that the military increased its scrutiny of North American airspace after the Chinese spy balloon incursion.
Chinese state media reported Sunday that China was planning to shoot down an unidentified flying object near China’s northern coast. Beijing did not specify the object’s identity or confirm that it had been downed as of Monday morning.
This series of flying objects has put pressure on Biden for US airspace protection and has worsened already stressed US-China relations.
Jon Tester, a Montana Democratic senator, said that “what’s happened in the last two weeks was nothing but craziness.” “The military must have a plan that not only determines what’s out there, but also the dangers associated with it.”
Sunday’s announcement by the Biden administration was met with dismay by some lawmakers. Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat said that “in the absence of information people’s anxiety leads to them into potentially destructive places.” He cited speculations on social media about “alien invasions and. . . Additional Chinese or Russian actions
VanHerck answered a question at a media briefing whether Norad had denied the possibility that the objects could be aliens.
These episodes have sparked a debate over whether the US military should invest more in order to improve its ability to detect objects.
Mike Turner, a Republican from Ohio and chair of the House intelligence Committee, said that the US lacks “adequate radar system” and “integrated ballistic missile defense” systems. “We must declare that we will defend our airspace, and then we have to invest.”