U.S. says it shot down object over Alaska, size of small car

U.S. says it shot down object over Alaska, size of small car
# 11 February 2023 01:30 (UTC +04:00)

US President Joe Biden ordered the Air Force to shoot down a high-altitude object over Alaska on Friday, saying it was a danger to other aircraft. Officials have steered away from referring to the object as a balloon, APA reports citing Sputnik.

"The object was flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet and posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight," White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Friday.

"Out of an abundance of caution and at the recommendation of the Pentagon, President Biden ordered the military to down the object - and they did ... within the last hour."

"We were able to get some fighter aircraft up and around it before the order to shoot it down and the pilot assessment was that it was not manned," Kirby added.
He noted that the unidentified object had passed over what remain US territorial waters, even though those waters are currently frozen. The device was spotted near Prudhoe Bay, a small town on Alaska's north coast facing the North Pole that is also home to a large oil field.

Kirby did not state any theories about the national ownership or origins of the object downed on Friday.

"I know of no outreach to the Chinese government about this," Kirby added when asked if the US had contacted China about the unidentified object.

Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder detailed in a follow-up briefing that the unmanned object was shot down with an AIM-9X missile fired by an F-22 fighter from Alaska's Elmendorf Air Force Base. An F-22 was also used to intercept a Chinese weather balloon last weekend.

In terms of size, US officials stated the object was much smaller than the earlier downed Chinese balloon. Ryder told reporters on Friday that the object was the size of a "small car."