The United States military on Sunday shot down an unidentified flying object over Michigan, the fourth U.S. military shoot-down in eight days.
North American Defense Command (NORAD) said in a statement:
Today at 2:42 p.m., at the direction of President Biden, and based on the recommendations of Secretary Austin and military leadership, an F-16 fired an AIM9x to successfully shoot down an airborne object flying at approximately 20,000 feet altitude in U.S. airspace over Lake Huron in the State of Michigan. Its path and altitude raised concerns, including that it could be a hazard to civil aviation. The location chosen for this shoot down afforded us the opportunity to avoid impact to people on the ground while improving chances for debris recovery. There are no indications of any civilians hurt or otherwise affected. North American Aerospace Defense Command detected the object Sunday morning and has maintained visual and radar tracking of it. Based on its flight path and data we can reasonably connect this object to the radar signal picked up over Montana, which flew in proximity to sensitive DOD sites. We did not assess it to be a kinetic military threat to anything on the ground, but assess it was a safety flight hazard and a threat due to its potential surveillance capabilities. Our team will now work to recover the object in an effort to learn more.
A congressional aide told the Wall Street Journal that the object over Lake Huron was “octagon” shaped.
Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI) tweeted, “I’ve been in contact with DOD regarding operations across the Great Lakes region today. The US military has decommissioned another ‘object’ over Lake Huron. I appreciate the decisive action by our fighter pilots. The American people deserve far more answers than we have.”
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) also tweeted: “Just got a call from @DeptofDefense — our military has an extremely close eye on the object above Lake Huron. We’ll know more about what this was in the coming days, but for now, be assured that all parties have been laser-focused on it from the moment it traversed our waters.”
The shoot-down comes after the U.S. military shot down an object violating Canadian airspace on Saturday, a day after the U.S. military shot down another object that entered U.S. airspace over Alaska on Friday, and eight days after the U.S. military shot down a Chinese spy balloon over the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday, February 4.
The U.S. government has not attributed where the most recent three objects originated, or identified publicly what they were.
The additional incursions into U.S. airspace are likely to reignite criticism over the Biden administration for not being able to detect and stop them before they happen, and not being transparent with the public. The Chinese spy balloon was confirmed by the U.S. government only after citizens in Montana spotted it in the sky and published it on social media.
Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX) echoed that call, tweeting, “BREAKING: The U.S. military has shot down another unidentified flying object over Lake Huron. We need answers now.”
President Joe Biden downplayed the Chinese spy balloon incursion in an interview on Thursday, calling it “not a major breach.”