On Friday, the White House confirmed that a “high-altitude object” of unknown origin was brought down by a missile while flying over the waters off the coast of Alaska. There is no evidence to suggest where the object came from. President Joe Biden ordered the shootdown, and a spokesman for the White House named John Kirby stated that the decision to do so was made out of an abundance of caution and on the recommendation of the Pentagon.
The object in question was roughly the size of a compact car and was estimated to be traveling at the height of around 40,000 feet. Kirby stated that it appeared floating in the air and was cylindrical in shape with a silvery-gray color. The fighter aircraft pilots that were dispatched to investigate the situation determined that the object in question did not have any means of propulsion.
On Friday morning, President Biden gave the order to shoot down the object, citing the primary reason to ensure the safety of flights traveling at that altitude. The direction of the object’s flight could not be predicted with any degree of accuracy because it depended on the wind. Kirby has stated that the recovery resources are currently making their way to the location to retrieve the debris and acquire additional information regarding the object.
This most recent shootdown occurred just a few days after the United States successfully shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon. Biden has been criticized by Republicans, as well as some Democrats, for his lack of prompt action in response to that circumstance. However, Alaska Republican Senator Dan Sullivan praised the recent shootdown, saying it helps to re-establish deterrence toward China. Sullivan is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
At 1:45 p.m. Eastern Time, the object was shot down after being spotted by ground radar, according to a statement made by Brigadier General Patrick Ryder at the Pentagon. The location is being prepared for the arrival of recovery resources, including an HC-130, an HH-60, and a CH-47 aircraft.
The object could be an uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV), also known as a drone. However, given that it was the size of a car and cylindrical and that it was shot down by an F-22 fighter jet, it seems likely that it was either an unauthorized or hostile drone.
The United States military can detect and intercept drones that are either flying in restricted airspace or pose a threat to the country’s national security. When this occurs, they can take defensive action, which may include shooting the drone down.