A Pentagon spokesman Saturday announced a U.S. F-22 pilot shot down a high-altitude airborne object in Canadian territory using an AIM 9X missile.
“Following a call between the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the United States, President Biden authorized U.S. fighter aircraft assigned to North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to work with Canada to take down a high-altitude airborne object over northern Canada today,” stated Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder in a statement.
After tracking the object from U.S. airspace to Canadian territory, fighter pilots from both countries reportedly determined the nature of the object before splashing it. That decision was arrived at after calls between U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Canada’s Minister of Defense Anita Anand.
“Today, a @NORADCommand aircraft shot down an unidentified object that violated Canadian airspace,” Anand stated in a Twitter post. “Canadian and U.S. aircraft were scrambled and a U.S. F-22 fired at the object. I discussed this with @SecDef Austin and reaffirmed that we’ll always defend our sovereignty together.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed in a Saturday afternoon Twitter post that he authorized U.S. pilots to destroy the object that violated Canadian airspace.
Anand informed reporters the object that flew at an altitude of 40,000 feet, “appears to be a small, cylindrical object and smaller than the one that was downed off the coast of [South] Carolina” February 4.
She provided no further details about the object before adding, “There is no reason to believe that the impact of the object in Canadian territory is of any public concern.”
The object shot down over Canada Saturday, as well as one destroyed over Alaska Friday, were privately described by U.S. and Canadian officials as balloons, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The report added Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said defense officials had described the objects as balloons to him although smaller than the spy balloon destroyed off South Carolina’s coast last Saturday.
NORAD spokesman Major Olivier Gallant said the U.S. military determined what it is but did not reveal details, according to a New York Post report.
Anand noted recovery operations continue to be conducted by the Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
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