The United States claims to have shot down a high-altitude object in Alaskan waters.

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US Vice President Joe Biden reportedly ordered a fighter plane to destroy a “high-altitude object” off the coast of Alaska on Friday.

The unmanned object was “the size of a small vehicle,” according to spokesman John Kirby, and it posed a “reasonable threat” to commercial air travel.

Mr. Kirby noted that the object’s function and provenance were unknown.

Just a week prior, US armed forces shot down a Chinese balloon in international waters.

Mr. Kirby said at the White House on Friday that the debris field from the object shot down on Friday was “much, much smaller” than the balloon fired down last Saturday off the coast of South Carolina.

He estimated the object’s altitude at 40,000 feet (12,000 meters) and reported it was hovering above Alaska’s northern coast.

At the time it was shot down, it had already flown past Alaska at speeds of up to 40 mph (64 km/h) and was over the ocean en route to the North Pole.

The highest altitude at which commercial airlines can fly is 45,000 feet.

Debris from the Beaufort Sea’s icy waters has been collected by helicopters and cargo aircraft.

Mr. Kirby admitted, “We do not know who owns it, whether state-owned, corporate-owned, or privately held.

Officials did not reveal when time on Thursday night the item was originally seen.

Mr. Biden had the knowledge that two fighter jets had approached the object and determined that there was nobody on board.

Mr. Kirby has stated, “We will continue to be watchful of our airspace. The president places a high priority on fulfilling his duty to safeguard the country’s security.

ABC News reports that the object showed no signs of movement.

It was “floating,” “cylindrical,” and “silver-ish grey,” according to the network’s chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz, who quotes an anonymous US official.

Brigadier General Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s press secretary, said the object was “not close in size or shape” to the Chinese balloon that flew over the United States last week.

He stated that the item was destroyed by a sidewinder missile fired from an F-22 fighter plane at 13:45 EST (18:45 GMT) on Friday.

From Anchorage’s Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, the fighter jet was dispatched.

According to Gen. Ryder, a sizable amount of wreckage has been uncovered. He further mentioned that it was being moved to “laboratories for later analysis” by loading it onto vessels.

Mr. Kirby corrected a reporter who had mistaken the object for a balloon, and officials said they had not yet decided if the object was involved in surveillance.

He didn’t say where exactly in northern Alaska the F-22 fired, but the FAA claimed it had closed around 10 square miles of airspace over Deadhorse before the shootout.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted his support for the U.S.’s choice to act on the “object that violated American airspace,” despite the fact that the incident occurred only around 130 miles from the Canadian border.

The White House claims that no more potentially dangerous items are currently located in the sky above the United States.

Unlike the Chinese balloon, Mr. Kirby claimed the mystery item seemed “essentially at the whim of the wind” and lacked the capacity to maneuver.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin contacted his Chinese colleague on Saturday, hours after the United States shot down the balloon, using a dedicated crisis line.

Defense Minister Wei Fenghe of China reportedly did not respond to repeated calls.

The Chinese government slammed the United States for “political manipulation and sensationalism” on Friday.

President Biden said Thursday that he did not consider the incident with the Chinese balloon to be “a serious breach” in an interview.

On Friday night, the United States government added six Chinese entities to its trade embargo list: five businesses and one research institution. As reported by the US Commerce Department, these companies and organizations have been blacklisted for their suspected involvement in and support of China’s military aerospace initiatives.

 

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