U.S. Air Force General Glen VanHerck, who is responsible for North American airspace, has refused to rule out that the recently shot down unidentified objects over North American airspace could be of alien origin.
This statement comes after the U.S. military recently shot down three unidentified objects over Lake Huron, Canada, and Alaska.
When asked about the extraterrestrial origin of the objects, General VanHerck stated, “I’ll let the intel community and the counterintelligence community figure that out. I haven’t ruled out anything.”
He further added, “At this point, we continue to assess every threat or potential threat, unknown, that approaches North America with an attempt to identify it.”
Using a Sidewinder missile, a U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jet was used to shoot down an “octagonal” object over Lake Huron. A U.S. defense official later informed Reuters, “No indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns.”
Despite this statement, General VanHerck stated that the U.S. officials were confident that the objects were not balloons.
He said, “I’m not going to categorize them as balloons. We’re calling them objects for a reason… I’m not able to categorize how they stay aloft. It could be a gaseous type of balloon inside a structure or it could be some type of a propulsion system. But clearly, they’re — they’re able to stay aloft.”
General VanHerck also revealed that U.S. officials considered using machine guns to shoot down the objects, but eventually decided against it due to the size and altitude of the objects.
He said, “We assessed taking a gunshot yesterday in that event, as well as today, and the pilots in each situation felt that that was really unachievable because of the size, especially yesterday in the altitude and also because of the challenge to acquire it visually because it’s so small.”
Finally, General VanHerck emphasized the caution taken to minimize potential collateral damage during the operation.
He stated, “We have taken extreme caution to ensure that we limit potential collateral damage, so today, we worked closely with the FAA to clear out the airspace… And when they were comfortable that we can minimize collateral damage, they selected the best weapon today that was the AIM 9x (missile). And they took the shot.”
According to a source briefed on the intelligence, the pilots involved in the incident over the coast of Alaska gave differing reports of what they observed.
As CNN reported, some pilots reported that the object “interfered with their sensors,” but not all pilots had the same experience. Some also claimed to have seen no identifiable propulsion on the object and could not explain how it could remain in the air while cruising at 40,000 feet.
According to the same source, these conflicting eyewitness accounts have made it difficult for the Pentagon to fully explain what the object is.
The statement from US Northern Command on Saturday stated they had no new information to share about the object’s “capabilities, purpose or origin,” but noted that recovery efforts are being affected by the Arctic weather conditions.
The statement added that the “high altitude airborne object” was downed by fighter aircraft on Friday after an order from President Biden and that recovery operations were continuing in coordination with the FBI and local law enforcement.
According to Defense Secretary Kirby, President Biden was first briefed on the object on Thursday, and it was noted that the object “did not appear to be self-maneuvering.”
The appearance and origin of the object remain unknown. It was reported to be traveling northeast across Alaska on Friday, though its physical characterization was not specified.
The only information provided was that it was “about the size of a small car” and that it was “not similar in size or shape” to the Chinese surveillance balloon that was shot down off the coast of South Carolina on February 4th.
The decision to shoot down the object was driven by a concern for public safety, as it posed a threat to civilian air traffic, flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet.
Although the object’s origin remains unknown, it was determined not to be manned and considered a reasonable threat.
As a result, an F-22 fighter jet equipped with an AIM-9X missile was dispatched from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska and successfully took down the object near the Canadian border and northeastern Alaska.
The military conducted the mission during daylight hours to improve visibility for the pilots and was supported by aerial assets from the Alaska Air National Guard.
Unlike the Chinese spy balloon that was allowed to traverse the continental U.S. last week, there was no significant concern about the object causing harm to people or property.