Understand what is known about the UFOs that the USA and Canada shot down


The US and Canadian governments have been busy intercepting unidentified flying objects in the skies, dropping one on Friday (10) over Alaska, another on Saturday (11) over the Yukon Territory, and a third over Michigan. , on Sunday (12).

Both countries are still trying to identify and recover the artifacts, but those efforts are likely to be hampered by the locations’ remoteness, Alaska’s Arctic coast, and Canada’s rugged nature.

The incidents occurred a week after the US exploded in the sky an alleged Chinese spy balloon, equipped with an antenna designed to identify the location of communication devices and capable of intercepting calls made on these devices. The balloon, which crisscrossed the country for several days, left the public transfixed and drew attention in Washington to the intensifying rivalry with China.

What happened in Alaska, Yukon and Michigan?

On Friday (10), US military shot down an unidentified flying object over the Arctic Ocean, near Alaska. US Northern Command troops were working near Deadhorse, Alaska, with units from the Alaska National Guard, the FBI and local law enforcement, to recover the object and determine its nature, Defense Department officials said.

Then, on Saturday (11), an American F-22 from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), operated jointly by the United States and Canada, shot down the object over the federal territory of Yukon ( Canada). Norad sent American fighters, soon to be joined by Canadian jets, to track the object. The F-22 used a Sidewinder air-to-air missile to bring the object down over Canadian territory, the same type used to obliterate previous flying objects.

The United States shot down another object on Sunday over Lake Huron (between Michigan, USA, and Ontario, Canada), using an F-16 fighter jet that fired a Sidewinder air-to-air missile at the object.

Why were these objects dropped faster?

The Chinese balloon crossed the country before being shot down earlier this month, allowing US authorities to observe and gather information. He was flying at 60,000 feet (18 km) and posed no danger to aircraft.

The object above Michigan was flying at 20,000 feet (6 km) and was a potential hazard to civil aviation. US and Canadian officials say the objects shot down on Friday and Saturday were also flying lower than the Chinese balloon, posing a greater danger to civilian aircraft.

Pentagon officials also said debris from the balloon could hit people on the ground. But the other objects were dropped over water or sparsely populated areas, minimizing the risk of falling debris. The Chinese balloon also created a state of hypervigilance. While it is rare for the United States to shoot down unidentified flying objects, tensions with China have remained high since the balloon was spotted over US skies nearly two weeks ago.

How do the latest objects differ from the Chinese balloon?

US officials aren’t sure what the latest objects are, let alone their purpose or who sent them. Beijing acknowledged the balloon was from China but said it was for meteorological research. John F. Kirby, a White House spokesman, said the object shot down near Alaska was “much smaller than the spy balloon we shot down” and that “the way it was described it was about the size of a small car, in opposition to that of the balloon, of two or three buses”.

US and Canadian officials described the object over the Yukon as cylindrical and said it was also smaller than the balloon shot down over the Atlantic the previous weekend. The object that crashed on Sunday had an octagonal structure with ropes hanging from it, US officials said.

The top military commander overseeing US airspace described the Chinese balloon as being about 200 feet tall and weighing thousands of pounds.

What would the spy balloon be collecting?

This remains a big question. Authorities still don’t know what information the balloon was supposedly stealing as it crossed the country.

The balloon had a Signal Intelligence Array – a fancy name for an antenna capable of locating and listening for communication devices. But authorities still don’t know if this matrix was created to pick up calls made by military radios, regular cell phones or something else entirely.

How many spy balloons were there?

Balloons are difficult to detect by radar. Many of the first Chinese spy balloons observed near US military exercises or bases were not identified as surveillance tools, but as unidentified aerial phenomena, modern Pentagon jargon for UFOs.

Over the past 18 months, the US has begun to learn more about China’s balloon program. When authorities reviewed past cases of unidentified aerial phenomena, they determined they were spy balloons. A review of old data showed that at least three spy balloons entered US airspace during the Trump administration. There was at least one additional visit under the Biden administration.

But all those incidents were relatively short — not the one-day transit of this month’s balloon.

Was this part of a broader Chinese surveillance program?

China has developed a spy balloon program to complement its fleet of reconnaissance satellites, US officials said, to gather information around the world.

As the capabilities of the spy balloons are still not fully understood, it is unclear whether they collect different information from Chinese satellites. But officials said that, at the very least, the balloons could hang over one spot longer. And while reconnaissance satellites generally focus on imaging, balloons seem to focus more on capturing communications.

Some officials say the spy balloon program has focused on the Pacific region, gathering information about US bases and Allied military operations. And, of course, the Chinese don’t just use balloons to do surveillance on military bases. Some classified reports suggest that they are also using advanced technologies to gather information about the US military.

What is the wreck recovery plan?

US Navy divers have been working to collect the balloon’s wreckage since Feb. 5 for US intelligence gathering purposes, Pentagon and FBI officials said. The recovery effort should take days.

The balloon was quickly recovered, as were cables that floated to the surface of the ocean. But most of the electronics were in the balloon’s payload, carried underneath. Her remains are scattered on the ocean floor, albeit in the relatively shallow waters off the coast of South Carolina.

Dive teams are delivering the recovered material to the FBI, which will take it to its laboratory in Quantico, Virginia. What state it will be in and how much can be learned from it remains unclear. It is likely that the wreckage from Alaska and the Yukon will also be taken to the FBI laboratory at Quantico to be examined by experts from the US intelligence community.

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