Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Saturday that an “unidentified object” was shot down by a US fighter jet in Canadian airspace, on his orders. Trudeau took to Twitter to confirm the take-down and stated that the object was shot down over the Yukon.
Trudeau also confirmed that he had spoken to US President Joe Biden, and Canadian forces will lead the recovery operation of the object. This marks the third time in a week that US aircraft have shot down an object in North American airspace.
Details on the Unidentified Object
The object was cylindrical and smaller than the suspected Chinese balloon shot down the previous weekend, according to Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand. The White House confirmed that both Biden and Trudeau authorized the shoot-down, and the Pentagon stated that the object was first spotted over Alaska on Friday evening.
Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder stated that the object was monitored by two F-22 fighter jets, with the help of the Alaska Air National Guard, as it crossed into Canadian airspace. The object was shot down using an AIM 9X missile by a US F-22 fighter jet in Canadian territory, approximately 100 miles (160.93 km) from the Canada-United States border.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation will be working closely with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as Canadian authorities conduct recovery operations. Anand confirmed that she had discussed the incident with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and both countries will always defend their sovereignty together.
Airspace Briefly Closed Over Montana
Airspace over Montana was briefly closed on Saturday evening to support Defense Department activities, but was quickly reopened, according to a FAA spokesperson. A statement from NORAD later stated that they had detected a radar anomaly and sent fighter aircraft to investigate, but the aircraft did not identify any object.
Previous Shoot-Downs in North American Airspace
On Friday, the US military shot down a “high-altitude object” over Alaska after determining that it posed a threat to civilian air traffic. The object was brought down by fighter aircraft assigned to US Northern Command, and the recovery teams are now attempting to retrieve the debris.
A week prior, US military fighter jets shot down the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon over the Atlantic Ocean, causing a diplomatic fallout between Washington and Beijing. The Biden administration has been subjected to questions regarding the timing of the decision to shoot the spy balloon.
In conclusion, while officials have not indicated that the object shot down over Alaska is related to the Chinese spy balloon, details remain scarce.
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