What’s happening with the unidentified objects that US fighter planes keep taking down?
In three days, the US military has shot down three flying objects over North American airspace. Another unidentified high-altitude object with strings attached and described as an “octagonal structure” was shot down on Sunday over Lake Huron in Michigan.
It is understood that the same item was picked up by radar over Montana on Saturday. When struck by a launched F-16 fighter jet, an air-to-air missile, it flew at 20,000ft across the Great Lakes region, a height that posed a risk for a civilian aircraft.
“I’m glad to report it has been swiftly, safely, and securely taken down,” - said Gretchen Whitmer, the state’s governor.
The object appeared to have traveled near US military sites, and the Pentagon said it posed a threat to a potential surveillance tool and civilian aviation. Off the coast of South Carolina, shot down a large balloon on 4 February, which China claimed even though, according to Beijing, it was only involved in innocent weather research.
Gen Glen VanHerck, responsible for safeguarding US airspace, has stated that they have yet to identify the three most recent objects, where they came from, or how they stayed aloft. He also said that the radar has been adjusted to track slower objects and that the recent three objects were referred to as “objects and not balloons” for a reason.
When VanHeck was asked if he ruled out extraterrestrials: “I’ll let the intel community and the counterintelligence community figure that out. I haven’t ruled out anything.” was his response.
However, Reuters reported that a defense official stated that the military had not seen evidence that it was an extraterrestrial object. Military personnel is expected to be deployed to Lake Huron with diving gear designed for the freezing wanted to search for pieces of the destroyed object.
The US military continued with searches off the coasts of South Carolina and Alaska for fragments from the first destroyed balloon, which was the most prominent object of the four - taken to the military laboratories after being retrieved for analysis.
Although the Chinese government has insisted it was only for weather research after they admitted owning the balloon. It was disputed by the Pentagon, stating the balloon was transporting powerful equipment, and early indications suggest it could intercept communications. US military tracked the balloon for several days as it flew 60,000ft in the national airspace. Initially spotted on 28 January off the coast of Alaska.
Tensions have risen on both sides of the Canadian and US border as four downed flying objects have been shot down in a week, causing international political stresses.