It is the fourth time this month that the United States has shot down another unidentified object. The destruction of the object near Lake Huron was ordered on Sunday afternoon by President Joe Biden.
According to a Pentagon statement, the object could have interfered with commercial air traffic as it was traveling at a height of 20,000 feet (6,100 meters). According to sources, it was first detected above military sites in Montana on Saturday.
The object was not considered a military threat. the defense officials have described the object as unmanned and octagonal in shape. The object was shot down by a missile fired from an F-16 fighter jet at 14:42 local time. Additional questions were raised after this incident, regarding the high-altitude objects that were shot down over North America this month.
A suspected Chinese spy balloon was shot down off the coast of South Carolina on February 4. The spy balloon was found hovering for days over the continental United States. The origin was in China and it was used to monitor sensitive sites according to officials.
China mentioned that the device was a weather-monitoring device and was not used for spying. Post this incident there have been tensions between Washington and Beijing. After receiving no response for several days, a US official communicated with Beijing regarding the first object on Sunday. However, it was not clear what was discussed at first. Three additional high-altitude objects have been shot down by the American fighter jets in as many days since the initial incident.
The functions or origin of these objects have not yet been disclosed by the officials. Canada and the United States are both working to recover the remains. However, Arctic conditions have hampered the search in Alaska.
Sunday evening, the US Air Force general in charge of North American airspace, stated that it was still unclear how the objects were propelled through the air or where they originated. He added that he had not ruled out any explanation, including the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
On being asked about the possibility of aliens Gen Glen VanHerck told sources that the intel community and the counterintelligence community would take a decision on that. However, he has not ruled anything out.
According to a senior official, the three most recent objects shot down were probably weather balloons and not surveillance devices. However, this was contradicted by the leading Democrat in Congress, who told a source that intelligence officials believed the objects to be surveillance balloons. Democrat Debbie Dingell stated, "We need to know where they are coming from, what their purpose is, and why their frequency is increasing."
Republicans have repeatedly criticized the Biden administration's handling of the first suspected spy balloon, arguing that it should have been shot down much earlier.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace mentioned that the UK would be conducting a security review following the incidents in Canada and UK. He also mentioned that this development was another sign of how the global threat picture was changing for the worse.