A top US official said on Sunday that the stark increase in the military spotting and shooting down aerial objects in recent days may be due to enhancing radar systems.
“In light of the People’s Republic of China balloon that we took down last Saturday, we have been more closely scrutinizing our airspace at these altitudes, including enhancing our radar, which may at least partly explain the increase in objects that we’ve detected over the past week,” Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs Melissa Dalton told reporters in a briefing.
“As we learn more about these objects, and certainly the PRC balloon, we’re going to enhance our understanding of the characteristics of them. That will perhaps enable us to look back at prior instances that were potentially overlooked,” she said.
President Biden ordered the U.S. military to shoot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon last Saturday, and since then, the military has shot down three more unidentified aerial objects in North American airspace.
On Friday, the military took down a “high-altitude object” over Alaska and then on Saturday Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ordered the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to take down an unidentified object over the territory of Yukon. On Sunday, the U.S. shot down the third unidentified aerial object over Lake Huron.
Dalton said the latest object posed no threat to people on the ground, but that it, along with the two other objects shot down on Friday and Saturday, posed a threat to civilian aviation given the height at which they were flying.
General Glen VanHerck, the commander of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, said the takedowns of the objects over the last week marked the first such action in U.S. airspace.
“I believe this is the first time within United States or American airspace that NORAD or United States Northern Command has taken kinetic action against an airborne object,” VanHerck said at the briefing.
The lack of specifics about the aerial objects has fueled speculation about their origin or intentions. VanHerck was asked if he has ruled out extraterrestrials as being behind the incidents.
‘l’ll let the intel community, the counterintelligence community, figure that out. I haven’t ruled out anything. At this point, we continue to assess every threat or potential threat unknown that approaches North America,” he said.
Updated: 10:11 p.m.
Source: The Hill
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