Why The US Military Has Shot Down So Many Objects In Just A Few Days Time
Experts are advising congress to investigate why there have been undetected flying objects in the sky recently.
Within a few days, the United States shot down four high-altitude unidentified flying objects in North American airspace. The first was a Chinese surveillance balloon that was taken down by F-22s off the coast of South Carolina. A second object was downed over Alaska, followed by another over Northern Canada on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s orders.
The most recent was brought down near Lake Huron on February 10th. While there is no indication that the unidentified objects have any connection to China’s surveillance balloon, national security officials across the continent remain on edge. The operation to shoot down the object about 15 nautical miles east of the Upper Peninsula was carried out by the U.S Air Force and the National Guard.
The object was first detected by the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the US Northern Command over Montana on February 9th. Fighter aircraft were sent to investigate. At the time, those planes did not identify any object to correlate to the radar hits, which led NORAD and NORTHCOM to believe it was an anomaly, CNN reports.
But on Sunday, February 10th, radar contact was reestablished and defense officials detected the object over Wisconsin and then Michigan. Much like the other unidentified objects, its altitude raised concerns that it could pose a threat to civilian aircraft. Based on those recommendations, President Joe Biden gave the order to shoot it down.
No civilians were hurt or otherwise affected by the military mission. But the Federal Aviation Administration still closed the airspace over Lake Michigan as a precaution. The area was reopened shortly after. Before the object near Lake Huron was downed, pilot descriptions of the other unidentified objects shot were handled with caution due to the circumstances in which they were viewed.
“These unidentified objects did not closely resemble and were much smaller than the Chinese PRC balloon,” a National Security Council spokesperson told CNN. The agency will not definitively characterize them until more debris is recovered. Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary, Sabrina Singh also noted the difference between the incidents.
However, Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command, General Glen VanHerck tentatively described the unidentified objects, including the one shot down over Lake Huron, as an octagonal structure with strings hanging off and no discernible payload. “It remains unclear how these objects can stay aloft,” he said during a media briefing via NBC News.
Meanwhile, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner described the Biden administration’s reaction to the unidentified objects as trigger-happy. He told CNN it was probably because the first balloon was able to fly across the country. Now, Congress needs to investigate why it took so long for the officials to discover China’s use of spy gear.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he supports the investigation. “Congress should look at that. That’s the question we have to answer,” he told ABC News. “I think our military, our intelligence are doing a great job. I feel a lot of confidence in what they’re doing. But why, as far back as the Trump administration, did no one know about this?” he said about the unidentified objects.