WASHINGTON: Less than a week after the military knocked down a Chinese balloon that had flown across the United States, a US F-22 fighter jet on Friday shoot down an unidentified item flying high over Alaska, according to US officials.
US Brig Gen Patrick Ryder, the principal spokesman for the Pentagon, a Sidewinder missile brought down the most recent object, which was about the size of a compact car.
“We do not know who owns this object” and “It is unknown where it started its flight,” says White House spokesman John Kirby,
The shootdown was authorized by President Joe Biden, who made the announcement from the White House.
Following a week-long flight across the United States a second US F-22 fighter plane downed what the US government said was a Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina on February 4. According to the Chinese government, it was a civilian research vessel.
The president received criticism from several lawmakers for not shooting down the Chinese balloon sooner. Out of concern for injuries from falling debris, the US military had advised waiting until it was over the ocean.
The latest object was far smaller than the Chinese balloon, but the Pentagon and the White House declined to provide further details.
US officials refrained from speculating about the nature of the item, which raised concerns about what kind of object could be so challenging to identify even by seasoned US pilots and intelligence officials.
It was initially discovered on Thursday, according to the Pentagon, using ground radars. Then an F-35 was sent to look into it. The UFO was endangering civilian air traffic as it flew at a height of around 40,000 feet (12,190 meters) in a northeasterly direction.