On Friday, a US fighter jet downed a tiny car-sized object that was headed towards President Joe Biden off the northern shore of Alaska at a height of around 40,000 feet, according to officials.
This occurred about a week after the United States shot down a Chinese spy balloon in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina. Having entered US airspace on January 30 in Montana, it had been hovering over North America for several days.
While acknowledging ownership of the balloon, China has refuted claims that it was used for spying rather than weather monitoring and that it had veered off course.
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy said that the unidentified object, shot down on Friday, raises serious national security concerns.
“This latest intrusion into our airspace raises serious questions about the White House’s decision to not shoot down a Chinese spy balloon last week when it was above the Aleutian Chain and prevent it from flying over important military sites in the Lower-48,” he said.
What does the Pentagon say?
According to Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder, “the object, whose origin is not known so far, was first detected inside American airspace on Thursday. It posed a “reasonable threat to civilian air traffic”, he said.
“US Northern Command is beginning recovery operations now,” Ryder said, adding the F-22 fighter jet deployed an AIM-9X missile to take down the object.
About the unidentified object over Alaska, Ryder told reporters at a news conference, “At the direction of the President of the United States, fighter aircraft assigned to US Northern Command successfully took down a high-altitude airborne object off the northern coast of Alaska at 1:45 pm Eastern Standard Time today within US sovereign airspace over US territorial water. We have no further details about the object at this time, including any description of its capabilities, purpose or origin.”
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