US Fighter Jet Downs “Object” in Alaska, Unveiling Chinese Surveillance Program
U.S. intelligence recently uncovered China’s vast aerial surveillance program, which includes balloons of various sizes and capabilities that have been spotted in more than 40 countries across five continents. On Friday, the U.S. military shot down another unidentified object flying high over Alaska, marking the second such encounter in less than a week after the plodding cross-country flight by a suspected Chinese spy balloon unleashed ferocious political blowback against the Biden administration.
The U.S. fighter jet used an AIM-9 Sidewinder missile to shoot down the “high-altitude object” in Alaskan airspace. The Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said the object was about the size of a small car, but its origin, purpose and capabilities remain unknown.
“We’re calling this an object because that’s the best description we have right now,” he said. The ownership of it is unknown, it could be owned by the state, a corporation, or an individual. We are unsure.
President Joe Biden was first briefed on the object on Thursday evening, as “soon as the Pentagon had enough information.” Two F-22’s from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson tracked it and one of them fired the AIM-9X sidewinder missile near the location of Deadhorse, Alaska.
The Pentagon said it was first detected on Thursday using ground radars, and F-35 aircraft were then sent to investigate. The unidentified flying object was soaring approximately 12,190 meters (40,000 feet) in a northeasterly direction, presenting a danger to civilian aviation.
On Thursday, F-35s put in an effort to engage with the object, and fighter aircraft followed suit on Friday morning. Both engagements yielded “limited” information, according to White House Press Secretary John Kirby.
According to Kirby, US fighter aircraft conducted a fly-by on Thursday evening before doing another one Friday morning. They both returned with a restricted amount of data concerning the object. On Friday night, the Pentagon reported that the debris-recovery process is occurring in a combination of snow and ice, and Alaska-based units under U.S. Northern Command, along with the Alaskan National Guard, are playing a role in the response.
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