The U.S. military shot down an unidentified object flying over Alaska on Friday, less than a week after the government shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon that had been traveling across the continental U.S.
The object, which was about the size of a small car, was shot down by an F-22 fighter jet using a Sidewinder missile off the coast of northeastern Alaska, according to the Pentagon’s chief spokesperson, U.S. Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder.
The Pentagon first detected the unidentified object on Thursday through ground radars. The object was flying at around 40,000 feet (12,190 meters), posing a risk to civilian air traffic.
Per the Pentagon’s recommendation, President Joe Biden ordered the military to shoot down the object. Officials are working to retrieve the pieces of the object, which fell on frozen U.S. territorial waters near the Canadian border.
The White House and the Pentagon have declined to describe the object that was found in the Alaskan airspace. However, Ryder said that the cylindrical, silver-ish gray object was incapable of maneuvering and did not resemble an airplane.
“It wasn’t an aircraft per se,” Ryder told a news briefing.
“We do not know who owns it, whether it’s state-owned or corporate owned or privately owned,” said White House spokesperson John Kirby.
On February 4, the U.S. military shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina using an F-22 fighter jet after it had traveled across the continental U.S. for about a week.