Car-sized unmanned object flying over Alaska shot down by US jets
Last updated on February 13th, 2023 at 03:56 am
A US fighter jet brought down a car-sized unidentified object flying high over Alaska on Friday, the White House said, less than a week after the downing of a Chinese balloon that had flown across the country triggered a fresh diplomatic rift with Beijing.
The purpose or origin of the new object was not immediately clear, but it was shot down by a US F-22 fighter jet because, floating at 40,000 feet, it was a threat to civil aviation, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.
Ground radars were the first to detect the object on Thursday. F-35 aircraft were then dispatched to investigate. Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder said American pilots who flew alongside the UFO before it was taken down determined that it was unmanned. It did not resemble an airplane and was incapable of maneuvering, he added.
Although “it wasn’t an aircraft per se”, officials wouldn’t say whether it could simply be a type of balloon.
The aircraft and munition – F-22 Raptor and AIM-9X missile – used for downing the alleged Chinese spy balloon were used to bring down the latest object as well.
Alarms have been raised over what US officials say is an ongoing program by the Asian country to fly high-altitude surveillance balloons to gather intelligence around the world.
In the week-long journey across the US and portions of Canada, the Chinese balloon flew over areas where Washington keeps nuclear missiles in underground silos and bases strategic bombers. The incident sparked major concern and also caused US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cancel his trip to Beijing.
China, after initial hesitation, has admitted ownership of the surveillance balloon but has rejected US allegations that it sent the balloon to spy on the US, and said it had strayed into US airspace “completely accidentally”.
Officials believe it will be far easier to retrieve pieces of the latest object than it was with the balloon.