On Sunday, the United States military shot down a high-altitude object over Lake Huron, the fourth operation in eight days over North America. An F-16 fighter shot down a plane off the coast of Michigan as it flew to the Canadian border at 20,000 feet. The incident occurred after the United States shot down unidentified flying objects over Canada’s Yukon on Saturday and Alaska on Friday.
The three incidents occurred about a week after the United States shot down a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina. China maintains that the balloon, which crossed US and Canadian airspace, was a civilian aircraft conducting meteorological research.
General Glen VanHerck, Head of North American Aerospace Defense Command, decided to shoot down the object over Lake Huron. A joint US-Canadian military command had tracked it since Saturday when it appeared to enter American airspace.
Norad determined that the object, which it could not always track, had flown close to sensitive military sites in Montana. The Chinese spy balloon that flew across North America also passed over Montana, where the United States army keeps nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles.
When asked why Norad was suddenly detecting so many potential threats, Dalton explained that the military had increased its scrutiny of North American airspace following the Chinese spy balloon’s incursion. The incidents have sparked a debate about whether the US military should invest more in improving its ability to detect objects.
Norad, according to VanHerck, is classifying the three targets shot down in the last three days as “objects,” and he is “not going to categorize them as balloons.”
On Saturday, Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister, said that teams were working to recover the object, which some officials described as “cylindrical” in shape.” There’s still a lot we don’t know about it,” Trudeau said.
According to a spokesperson for the National Security Council, the first two objects “did not represent” and were significantly smaller than the Chinese balloon. We will not be able to characterize them definitively until we can recover the debris.” the spokesperson said.
Melissa Dalton, the top Pentagon official in charge of homeland security, said President Joe Biden acted with “extreme caution,” partly because the objects could endanger civilian aviation.
The House Intelligence Committee Republican chairman, Mike Turner, said, “The United States lacked adequate radar and integrated missile defense systems.” Further added, “We must declare that we will defend our airspace, and then we must invest.”