US says it shot down car-sized UFO in Alaska

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: John Kirby, National Security Council’s Coordinator for Strategic Communications, answers questions during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2023. REUTERS / Evelyn Hockstein

By Andrea Shalal, Steve Holland and Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. F-22 fighter jet on Friday shot down an unidentified object flying over Alaska, US officials said, less than a week after the military shot it down. A Chinese hot air balloon flies over the United States.

The US Brigadier General said a sub-missile shot down an object the size of a small car. General Patrick Ryder, chief spokesman for the Pentagon.

President Joe Biden ordered the shoot-down, informed by the White House – a rare participation at the presidential level due to early reports that the object posed no military threat and was rather crude.

On February 4, another US F-22 fighter jet shot down what the US government called a Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina after a week-long journey. through the United States and parts of Canada.

Republicans and even some Democrats allied with Biden have criticized the president for waiting before acting against that first balloon. The incident sparked a diplomatic crisis between the world’s two largest economies and prompted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cancel a planned trip to Beijing.

The Pentagon and White House declined to give a detailed description of the latest object shot down, saying only that it was much smaller than a Chinese balloon. The Pentagon said it was flying at an altitude of about 40,000 feet (12,190 metres), posing a risk to civilian air traffic.

“We don’t know who owns the object,” said White House spokesman John Kirby (NYSE:NYSE).

The object was shot down in the extreme northeast of Alaska near the Canadian border, where it was moving northeast. The Pentagon said it was first detected on February 9 using ground-based radar. Fighter aircraft were then sent in for further investigation.

Ryder said American pilots flying along it determined that there were no people on board. He added that it has no maneuverability and does not look like an aircraft. Ryder and other officials did not say whether it could simply be a weather balloon or another type of balloon.

“It’s not an airplane,” Ryder said at a news conference.

The F-22 shot down the object at 1:45 p.m. EST.

When asked why Biden’s permission was needed, Ryder acknowledged that the US military commander overseeing North American airspace has the authority to shoot down objects that pose a military risk or a risk to the American people. .

“In this particular case, it was determined that this posed a reasonable threat to air traffic,” Ryder said.

Since China’s 200-foot (60-meter) high-altitude surveillance balloon was shot down, US officials have scoured the ocean to recover debris and electronic equipment chassis.

Ryder told reporters that a “significant amount” of the balloons had been recovered or located, suggesting that US officials may soon have more information about any sophisticated Chinese spying capabilities. on the train.

“It would be very beneficial for us to learn more about it,” Ryder said.

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