For the third time in three days, U.S. fighters downed an unidentified object on Sunday afternoon, this time over Lake Huron just north of Michigan. It was flying at 20,000 feet and described as octagonal in shape by Pentagon officials, who maintain they don’t know what it or the other two objects shot down over the weekend actually are. “We’re calling them objects, not balloons, for a reason,” said US Air Force General Glen VanHerck, head of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and Northern Command. The object was initially spotted over Montana on Saturday but was dismissed as an anomaly. It was picked up again over Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on Sunday and subsequently taken out by an F-16. The FAA issued a TFR over the area clearing the airspace for all but military aircraft, and Transport Canada issued a NOTAM closing the airspace.
Meanwhile, a U.S. fighter shot down what Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand described as a “small cylindrical object” over Canada’s Yukon Territory Saturday afternoon. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ordered the action jointly with U.S. President Joe Biden. “I ordered the take down of an unidentified object that violated Canadian airspace,” Trudeau said in a statement he posted on Twitter. The object was shot down by an F-22 operated by the North American Aerospace Defense Command over the central Yukon Territory. NORAD is a joint U.S./Canadian defense organization. Trudeau spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden and the two leaders jointly ordered the action. Canadian military and police personnel are looking for the wreckage.
Anand gave the description of the object at a news briefing on Saturday. She said it was at about 40,000 feet and that the debris on the ground does not pose a threat to the public. The Canadian object is similar in description to the object shot down off the coast of Alaska on Friday. Anand said the Canadian military and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will recover and analyze the wreckage. It’s the third high-altitude intruder spotted in the last two weeks. On Friday, a U.S. F-22 shot down an unknown object just off the north coast of Alaska and near the Canadian border and a surveillance balloon was shot down off South Carolina last week.
Meanwhile ABC News is reporting the object shot down off Alaska Friday was “cylindrical” and “silverish grey.” Citing unnamed sources, the network said they described it as “floating,” which seems to be supported by official accounts of it lacking any propulsion or maneuvering capability. Chief ABC News Correspondent Martha Raddatz quoted her source as skating around whether the object was a balloon. “All I say is that it wasn’t ‘flying’ with any sort of propulsion, so if that is ‘balloon-like’ well—we just don’t have enough at this point.”
One of two F-22s that intercepted the object shot it down with a Sidewinder missile. It was flying about 40,000 feet above Prudhoe Bay on Friday morning. In an announcement at the White House, spokesman John Kirby said the object was “the size of a small car” it fell onto the frozen surface of U.S. waters. A recovery mission is under way. President Joe Biden ordered the action. Kirby said it presented a “reasonable threat” to civilian air traffic.
The object was first spotted late Thursday. “We do not know who owns it, whether it’s state owned or corporate owned or privately owned,” he said. Although a fighter approached the object and determined it was not occupied, Kirby did not describe it or say what it was. He did say the debris field from the object was much smaller than that left by the high-altitude balloon shot down off the coast of South Carolina last weekend.