Officials have confirmed that a high-altitude object was shot down by the military over Lake Huron. This latest incident follows a series of similar events. The object was detected at an elevated height and was brought down by the military.
On Sunday afternoon, a high-altitude object over Lake Huron in Michigan was shot down by a U.S. military aircraft, according to three U.S. officials. This marks the latest in a series of similar incidents. The decision to shoot down the object was made by President Joe Biden out of caution, upon recommendation by military leaders. The object was first detected on radar over Montana on Saturday, and was observed again over Wisconsin and Michigan on Sunday. It had an octagonal structure, was unmanned, and was traveling at around 20,000 feet. While there is currently no evidence of its surveillance capabilities, the administration cannot rule it out.
I’ve been in contact with DOD regarding operations across the Great Lakes region today.— Rep. Jack Bergman (@RepJackBergman) February 12, 2023
The US military has decommissioned another “object” over Lake Huron.
I appreciate the decisive action by our fighter pilots.
The American people deserve far more answers than we have.
According to an official, the object that was taken down was initially detected by radar over Montana on Saturday, and was later seen again on radar over Wisconsin and Michigan on Sunday. The object had an octagonal structure, was unmanned, and was traveling at a height of around 20,000 feet. Although there is no evidence to suggest surveillance capabilities, it cannot be ruled out by the administration.
In comparison to a suspected Chinese spy balloon that was seen in January, a senior U.S. official stated that this object, along with two others that have been shot down recently, is not comparable. The official clarified that there is no indication of the objects being spy balloons and that they resemble meteorological balloons or weather balloons. The official added that these types of vessels are known to go off course, are smaller, and did not have any payloads. However, the official acknowledged that each object is unique and difficult to identify with certainty.
During a Pentagon press briefing, Melissa Dalton, assistant secretary of defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs, stated that the recent increase in objects detected in US airspace at certain altitudes may be due to enhanced radar capabilities resulting from the recent takedown of a balloon from the People’s Republic of China. The objects detected do not pose a kinetic military threat, but their flight paths and altitudes could be hazardous to civilian aviation. The object of concern was taken down by an F-16 using a sidewinder missile, and its location was chosen to avoid impact to people on the ground. Congressman Elissa Slotkin has called for a full briefing on the wreckage of the object.
Over the past few days, the military has shot down a high-altitude object over US or Canadian territory on four occasions. The first incident involved a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that was tracked across the continental US and shot down off the coast of South Carolina by a US F-22 fighter jet on Feb. 4. This incident caused bipartisan concern in Washington after the balloon passed over sensitive military installations, including at least one housing intercontinental ballistic missiles. The military delayed shooting it over concerns that downing it could risk injuring people on the ground with debris, but this delay drew criticism from some politicians who felt that the situation was not handled promptly enough by President Joe Biden and the Pentagon.
Since the downing of the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina by a US F-22 fighter jet on Feb. 4, two additional objects have been shot down over Alaska and Canada by US F-22 jets. While the military has not confirmed the type of objects, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has stated that they were also balloons, though smaller than the first. Schumer linked these balloons to the Chinese, who claimed the first balloon was a civilian weather craft. The incidents have led to further bipartisan calls for information from the Pentagon regarding the origin and purpose of the objects, as diplomatic tensions between Washington and Beijing continue to escalate over the initial balloon incident.
According to a senior US official, the increase in sightings of objects in American airspace is due to the military’s enhanced surveillance capabilities and not a sudden influx of new foreign objects. The official explained that Northern Command has adjusted its radar parameters to improve its detection abilities, which resulted in the military seeing more objects than before. The suspected Chinese spy balloon caused the US military to be more vigilant, although the official said the military was not entirely unaware of the situation before. The senior official added that the military is now picking up and further investigating objects that the system is detecting in the wake of the Chinese vessel incident.