Unidentified Cylindrical Object in Canadian Airspace Shot Down by NORAD Team: Trudeau

Unidentified Cylindrical Object in Canadian Airspace Shot Down by NORAD Team: Trudeau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in Windsor, Ontario, on Jan. 17, 2023. (Nicole Osborne/The Canadian Press)
Melanie Sun
2/11/2023
Updated:
2/11/2023

A U.S. plane in a joint operation with Canada has shot down an unidentified object detected in Canadian airspace on the order of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau posted about the decisive action on Twitter on Saturday: “I ordered the take down of an unidentified object that violated Canadian airspace. @NORADCommand shot down the object over the Yukon.

“Canadian and U.S. aircraft were scrambled, and a U.S. F-22 successfully fired at the object,” he said.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) had posted on Twitter shortly before Trudeau’s announcement that it had detected the object flying at high altitude over Canada.

NORAD is a binational military command that oversees aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for North America. It answers to the heads of state of both the United States and Canada.

Trudeau said that he and Biden had discussed taking down the object, and thanked NORAD for “keeping watch over North America.”

The object was shot down over the Yukon in northwest Canada, which borders Alaska. Canadian Forces will now be working to recover the wreckage for analysis, Trudeau and Defense Minister Anita Anand said.

The “small cylindrical object,” smaller than the Chinese spy balloon was downed at 40,000 feet (12,200 meters) at 3:41 p.m. local time, Anand said.

Both Canadian and U.S. aircraft were involved in the takedown operation, but Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said the object was shot down “using an AIM 9X missile” by a U.S. F-22, the same type of plane that took down the Chinese balloon last week after it was allowed to fly over the whole continental United States.

According to the U.S. State Department, the balloon of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)—which was inspected by a U-2 spy plane at high altitude—was just one of many already deployed by Beijing to spy on over 40 countries across five continents.

In response to the airspace intrusion, the Biden administration has since blacklisted six China-based entities—five companies and one research institute—linked to the CCP’s aerospace and technology companies. The restrictions will make it harder for the companies and one research institute to obtain American technology exports.

The U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security said the six entities were being targeted for “their support to China’s military modernization efforts, specifically the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) aerospace programs including airships and balloons.”

“The PLA is utilizing High Altitude Balloons (HAB) for intelligence and reconnaissance activities,” it said.

The six entities are Beijing Nanjiang Aerospace Technology Co., China Electronics Technology Group Corporation 48th Research Institute, Dongguan Lingkong Remote Sensing Technology Co., Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology Group Co., Guangzhou Tian-Hai-Xiang Aviation Technology Co., and Shanxi Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology Group Co.

NORAD did not comment on what the unidentified object over Canada could be.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), said in a statement: “As operations continue off of Alaska’s north coast to recover the debris from the object shot down yesterday, I also greatly appreciate all of the Air Guardsmen from the Rescue Triad who are engaged in those critical efforts, which are taking place in harsh conditions and terrain.

“It is those difficult operations that will allow us to determine what these objects are and who is violating our sovereignty.”

The shooting was the third such incident over North America after the CCP admitted to the intrusion of its surveillance balloon in early February. The original of the latest flying object is still unknown.

Just a day earlier, the United States also shot down a second object, yet to be identified, flying over Alaska.

While U.S. authorities have said that the object did not appear to be a balloon like the earlier incident, it was flying in a way that posed a threat to the safety of civilian flights, which sparked the takedown order.

“I join my fellow delegation members in expecting answers from our military leaders for how unidentified objects have been able to infiltrate our airspace in recent weeks ... The Defense Department must thoroughly investigate and close this gap in our domain awareness. Continued violations of sovereign American airspace cannot be allowed,” Rep. Mary Sattler Peltola (D-Alaska) said in a statement.
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) said in a statement that the U.S. military is working to eliminate this “unprecedented challenge.”

U.S. lawmakers and China current affairs commentators have said they believe the timing of the CCP’s spy balloon to be linked with the now-canceled diplomatic visit with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Melanie is a reporter and editor covering world news. She has a background in environmental research.
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