What We Know About Objects Shot Down Over North America

US forces have shot down four objects over North America in the past eight days. Three of the objects remained unidentified as of late Sunday and were shot down separately within three days. The latest unidentified object was shot down in Michigan’s Lake Huron on Sunday.

Here’s what we know so far about these four objects:

The first object was reported as unidentified until U.S. officials announced it was a Chinese surveillance balloon. The White House and the Pentagon said the balloon entered U.S. airspace without authorization and violated U.S. sovereignty.

The 200-foot-tall balloon was first reported after being sighted by civilians near Billings, Montana. The steerable balloon was then allowed across the United States by authorities, citing security concerns, even though it passed a highly classified air force base and a strategic nuclear weapons site. missile silo.

A map shows the path of the suspected spy balloon. (AP photo)

The balloon, claimed by China, drifted east toward the Atlantic Ocean before being shot down by an F-22 fighter off the coast of South Carolina at about 2:39 pm ET. The balloon was flying at an altitude of approximately 50,000 to 60,000 feet in the stratosphere, where there is no commercial air traffic.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), run by the United States and Canada, has been tracking the balloon all along. Officials said the balloon originated in China, entered U.S. airspace over Alaska on Jan. 28, flew over Canada, and re-entered the U.S. on Jan. 31. It poses no danger to people on the ground and was shot from the air on 4 February.

A State Department official told The Epoch Times that the balloon could monitor communication signals.

Pentagon spokesperson Brig. General Pat Ryder said on Feb. 3 that the balloon also has “a large payload under the surveillance component.”

FBI officials later said they found no indication that the balloon was carrying a potentially harmful payload. ‘ said the official, Reuters reported.

Epoch Times photo
A Chinese reconnaissance balloon drifts into the sea after it was shot down off the coast of Surfside Beach, South Carolina, on February 4, 2023. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter flies over a rubble field during a recovery operation on February 4, 2023. (Randall Hill/Reuters). US Navy photo by Lt. jg Jerry Ireland)

China claimed that a civilian weather-monitoring device accidentally veered off course and entered U.S. airspace.

However, White House officials said an assessment of the balloon’s wreckage indicated that the balloon was equipped with a propeller and rudder that enabled it to change direction, and that the balloon could speed up, slow down, turn, and steer. It relied primarily on the movement of air within the jet stream, with limited maneuverability within it.

John Kirby, coordinator of the National Security Council, said a retrospective analysis reveals other similar balloons have flown through U.S. airspace three times during the Trump administration and once since Biden took office. said that it became

“We have reached out to key officials in the previous administration to explain the forensic work we have done and express our willingness to explain to them what we have learned,” Kirby said.

At a later press conference, Air Force General Glenn Vanherk, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, said, building on Sullivan’s statement, that there was a “consciousness gap” in the Pentagon that previous Chinese balloon incursions were suspected. It said it was not detected at the time.

February 10: Small car-sized object shot down off Alaska coast

At 1:45 PM ET on February 10, two F-22s shot down an unknown flying object in US waters off the north coast of Alaska.

The object was first discovered on February 9th. It was hovering around 40,000 feet, an altitude where commercial aircraft cruise. Officials said Biden ordered it to be dropped after it was determined to be a “reasonable threat” to the safety of civilian flights.

Earlier in the day, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a no-fly warning over Alaska, where the object is located. It was later shot down by a single AIM-9X Sidewinder missile. This is the same type of missile that shot down the Chinese reconnaissance balloon on February 4th.

Kirby Said The object was shot down “with due care”. He added: Just to be clear, I wouldn’t classify them as balloons for now. it is an object. We are still trying to learn more from it. ”

Pentagon spokesperson Brig.General Pat Ryder Said The object was about the size of a small car and looked nothing like a Chinese spy balloon.he Added “There were no indications that it was manned” and “no indication that it was manoeuvrable at this time.”

“At this time, there are no details about the object, including a description of its function, purpose or origin,” he told reporters on Feb. 10. He added that he was working to collect .in US waters.

February 11: ‘Cylindrical’ object shot down over Canada

An unidentified cylindrical object was shot down by a US F-22 over the Yukon Territory on February 11 as part of the joint NORAD operation with Canada.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who ordered the removal, said on February 12 that the object had entered Canadian airspace illegally and posed a “reasonable threat to civilian aviation.” He added that recovery teams are trying to locate and analyze the object.

rider Said A US F-22 “shot down an object in Canadian territory using an AIM 9X missile following close coordination between US and Canadian authorities”.

Canada’s Defense Minister Anita Anand said on February 11 that the object was detected flying about 40,000 feet. She said the plane was shot down at 3:41 p.m. ET about 100 miles from the Canadian-US border, crossing Canadian territory in the Yukon.

She added, “This was the first time a NORAD operation shot down an airborne object.”

“At this time, we don’t have any details about the object, but it appears to be a small cylindrical object, smaller than the one that fell off the coast of the United States. [South] Carolina,” she said.

February 12: “Octagonal” object shot down in Lake Huron

The Pentagon confirmed on February 12 at 2:42 pm ET that a US F-16 shot down an object with an AIM-9x short-range air-to-air missile. The object was flying over US airspace over Lake Huron, Michigan at an altitude of about 20,000 feet when it was shot down.

“Its path and altitude raised concerns, including that it could pose a hazard to civil aviation. The location chosen for this shot down afforded the opportunity to avoid impacting people on the ground.” but increased the chances of debris recovery,” the Pentagon read. statement.

NORAD detected the object on the morning of February 12th. [Department of Defense] site.

“We did not assess it as a dynamic military threat to anything on the ground, but as a safe flight hazard and a threat due to potential surveillance capabilities. Our team will work to recover the object for more information,” the statement said.

Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Michigan) explained in a Feb. 12 email that the latest object has an “octagonal structure.” interview on Fox News.

NORAD has confirmed that it “enforced a temporary restricted flight zone over Lake Michigan on February 12, 2023 at approximately 12:00 PM.” The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed to the Epoch Times that the airspace over Lake Michigan was reopened shortly after it was temporarily restricted.

Zachary Stieber, Jack Phillips, and Eva Fu contributed to this report.