U.S. defends shootdowns of three unidentified objects in as many days, citing concerns about civilian air traffic and national security. The objects were unmanned and flying at low altitudes, and while there is no evidence they were equipped for spying purposes, officials have not ruled that out.
One of the objects was shot down over Lake Huron on Sunday, while the other two were shot down earlier in the week. The objects differed in size and maneuverability, but all posed a potential threat to air traffic.
The shootdowns have sparked interest and concern both in the U.S. and abroad, with other countries also trying to assess the situation. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has pledged to do “whatever it takes” to protect the country, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has suggested that there may be a pattern to the objects.
The U.S. has denied allegations from China that it has been flying surveillance balloons in Chinese airspace without permission. The U.S. recently shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon that had crossed into American airspace, further straining already tense relations between the two countries.
The objects have not been definitively identified, but the U.S. has ruled out any connection to extraterrestrial activity. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has said that recovery efforts for the objects have been impeded by weather and remote locations.
The shootdowns have prompted speculation and concern about national security and the potential for future incidents. Officials have emphasized that the decisions were made in the best interests of the American people, and have not ruled out further action if necessary.