Washington – Today at 2:42 p.m. ET, at the direction of President Biden, and based on the recommendations of Defense Secretary Austin and Pentagon military leadership, an F-16 fired an AIM9x to successfully shoot down an airborne object flying at approximately 20,000 feet altitude in U.S. airspace over Lake Huron in the State of Michigan.
The object still unidentified was on a path and at an altitude which raised concerns, including that it could be a hazard to civil aviation.
The location chosen for this shoot down afforded us the opportunity to avoid impact to people on the ground while improving chances for debris recovery. There are no indications of any civilians hurt or otherwise affected.
North American Aerospace Defense Command detected the object Sunday morning and has maintained visual and radar tracking of it. Based on its flight path and data we can reasonably connect this object to the radar signal picked up over Montana, which flew in proximity to sensitive DOD sites.
The Pentagon in an information release state: “We did not assess it to be a kinetic military threat to anything on the ground, but assess it was a safety flight hazard and a threat due to its potential surveillance capabilities. Our team will now work to recover the object in an effort to learn more.”
Canadian Minister of Defence Amanda stated on the takedown by Canada of another unidentified object over the Yukon:
“As Minister of National Defence, my top priority is the safety and protection of Canadians.
Working in collaboration with our partners, including the United States, NORAD and other departments, Canada was tracking a high-altitude object over Central Yukon.
North American Aerospace Defense Command detected this object and launched Canadian and US fighter aircraft to investigate. The object was visually identified using fighter aircraft assigned to NORAD.
In collaboration with our partners, including the United States, NORAD and other departments, Canada was tracking a high altitude object over the central Yukon.
NORAD Command detected the object and launched Canadian and U.S. fighter aircraft to investigate. The object was visually identified using fighter aircraft assigned to NORAD.
This exemplifies what NORAD is and what NORAD does best – and I was pleased to discuss this operation earlier today with my colleague, United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
Today, at the direction of the Prime Minister, aircraft assigned to NORAD successfully took down this high altitude airborne object at approximately 3:41 pm Eastern Standard Time.
To the best of our knowledge, this was the first time that a NORAD operation has downed an aerial object.
The object was flying at an altitude of approximately 40,000 feet, had unlawfully entered Canadian airspace, and posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight. The object was downed approximately 100 miles from the Canada, United States Border, over Canadian territory, in central Yukon.
Recovery operations are underway and will be supported by the Canadian Armed Forces, in coordination with the RCMP. This coordinated operation will allow a further investigation into this object.
We have no further details about the object at this time, including any description of its capabilities, purpose, or origin. It appears to be a small, cylindrical object, smaller than the one downed off the coast of North Carolina.
I also spoke today with Yukon Premier Ranj Pillai and conveyed that we’ll continue to work hand in hand with the territory.
I, and our government, will continue reaching out to Indigenous peoples potentially affected by this incident to provide information and updates as needed, out of respect for reconciliation.
Today is a historic day.
Canada and the United States continue to work together through the bi-national command of NORAD to defend our two nations, and I will recognize again the importance of this extremely close relationship we have with the United States.
Just yesterday, I met with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon to reaffirm that North American air sovereignty is a key priority, which is why we continue to work in partnership with the United States, NORAD and the broader security community to protect Canadian and U.S. interests. We will continue our work to modernize NORAD and ensure the protection of our air sovereignty — and I’ll be seeing the Secretary Again next week.
Through NORAD, we will continue to work hand in hand with our closest ally to ensure the protection of our continent — as we showed today. I thank all members of our military, and the United States’ involved in this operation”.
Sunday night, Pierre Poilievre, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and the Official Opposition, released the following statement:
“These multiple and unequivocal violations of our national sovereignty should be a wake-up call for the Trudeau Liberals who have failed to combat growing threats, particularly from the Communist Party in Beijing. Shooting down the balloons was the right thing to do. But after 8 years of Justin Trudeau, Canada cannot defend itself.
“Due to Liberal mismanagement of national defence, Canada lacks effective Early Warning Systems to detect this type of incursion into our airspace. With his failure to counter foreign interference and properly resource our military over 8 years, the Prime Minister has made us more vulnerable to foreign aggression. His cancellation of the F-35 jets wasted years and billions of dollars that could have gone into our forces. Had Canada possessed these jets today, we would not be so vulnerable and unprepared for danger.”