Washington, DC – In a phone call earlier today, President Biden spoke with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada regarding the recent shoot down of an unidentified, unmanned object in North American airspace. The object was closely monitored by North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) over the past 24 hours and the President was continuously briefed by his national security team since the object was detected.
At the recommendation of their militaries, President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau authorized the object to be taken down. President Biden authorized US fighter aircraft assigned to NORAD to conduct the operation and a US F-22 successfully shot down the object in Canadian territory in close coordination with Canadian authorities. The Canadian Forces will now recover and analyze the wreckage of the object.
Pilots who encountered the object reported that it showed no visible means of propulsion or any other distinguishable characteristics. The object was known to the United States since Friday and was being closely monitored by NORAD. According to a statement by Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, two F-22 aircraft from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska monitored the object over US airspace with the assistance of Alaska Air National Guard refueling aircraft, tracking it closely and characterizing the nature of the object.
The FBI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are currently investigating the source of the object. President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau discussed the importance of recovering the wreckage in order to determine its purpose and origin. They commended NORAD’s and U.S. Northern Command’s strong and effective partnership and agreed to continue their close coordination in detecting, tracking, and defending their airspace.
Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand declined to speculate about the origin of the object, which she said was cylindrical in shape.
This is the third object shoot down in less than two weeks. The first object, shot down on February 4, was identified as a suspected Chinese spy balloon. The second object, shot down on Friday, was described by National Security Council official John Kirby as a “high-altitude object” roughly the size of a car, flying over Alaskan airspace and Arctic waters. The recovery effort for this object was taking place near Deadhorse, Alaska, but was challenged by sea ice, wind chill, snow, limited daylight, and other conditions in the region during winter.
The shoot down of these objects in North American airspace is an ongoing issue and the exact purpose or origin of these objects is still unknown. President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau have agreed to continue their close coordination and cooperation in order to determine the facts and ensure the safety of North American airspace.