Overview of the US F-22 ‘Evil bird’ case again launched a missile to shoot down a foreign object

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A fighter jet flies near a large Chinese hot air balloon over the waters of South Carolina state (USA) on February 4, 2023. Photo: The Hill

Tensions between the US and China have reached a new level in the past few days after the White House ordered the shooting down of a hot air balloon off the US East Coast over concerns of surveillance. The February 4 downing came after China insisted that the device was simply a civilian weather balloon that had drifted off course.

While the incident has not subsided, on February 10, the Pentagon confirmed that a “high-altitude object” was shot down over the frozen waters of Alaska after military officials confirmed. The device posed a “threat to the safety of civilian flight.”

News of the downing was first confirmed by White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, and Pentagon spokesman General Pat Ryder later provided a summary of the incident. latest details.

High-altitude object “not a balloon”

The official statement of the Biden administration said that the unidentified flying object was first detected on the night of February 9, and the official order to shoot down was issued by the President in the early hours of February 10. At about 1:45 pm on the same day, the “foreign object” was officially shot down.

Unlike the previous downing of a Chinese airship, US officials stressed that the high-altitude object was “much smaller” and probably about the size of a small car.

“The object was flying at an altitude of 12,000 meters and posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flights,” John Kirby told reporters at a press conference on Feb. U.S. officials have had no “access” to China regarding the development, he added.

Currently, US authorities do not know which organization owns the object or what its nature is.

Mr. Kirby stressed that the US is “calling this an object because that’s the best description we have right now”.

The spokesman also revealed that President Biden was first notified of the incident on the evening of February 9, “as soon as the Pentagon had enough information”, adding that on the recommendation of the Pentagon Corner, the President ordered the military to “shoot down the object – and they did.”

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An Air Force F-22 Raptor flies over Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, February 27, 2018. Photo: Sputnik

“Evil” F-22 strikes again

The US military used Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska to support the shoot-down operation. The first time the fighter pilot flew after the object and concluded that the device was unmanned. Officials also said there was no indication that the strange device could be controlled.

Finally, a single F-22 fighter jet taking off from the Elmendorf base has been mobilized, marking the second time the model has engaged in an air combat mission in recent days. This. An AIM-9X Sidewinder missile, which first entered service in 1956, was used to shoot down a strange “high-altitude object”. This is also the type of missile used by the US to shoot down Chinese airships earlier.

An hour before the object was officially shot down, the US Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary flight restriction order in the airspace around Deadhorse, Alaska. The agency sternly warned that any aircraft that did not comply with orders could be “intercepted, detained and interrogated by the authorities”.

An operation to recover the body of the strange device is underway, but US officials have not given a timeline when they will be able to recover it from the frozen Alaskan waters.

President Biden: It was a success

Asked about comments after the February 10 shooting down of the strange object, the US President told reporters that the incident “successful”.

It should be noted that Mr. Biden’s response to this “high-altitude object” was quicker than that given to the downing of a Chinese airship off the coast of South Carolina last weekend. Mr. Biden was widely criticized at the time for his slow response.

The commander-in-chief of the US Army on the same day had a brief exchange with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House as he awaited the arrival of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Unlike previous meetings with foreign heads of state, Mr. Biden did not hold a joint speech with the newly elected president of Brazil.

Before the new shootdown was carried out, the White House informed a series of allied officials. Among those briefed on the matter were Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand and members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“I have been briefed on this matter and support the decision to take action,” Trudeau wrote in a Twitter post. both through (North American Aerospace Defense Command), to keep everyone safe.”

Similarly, Defense Minister Anand reiterated that both the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of Defense will work with US officials to “ensure the protection of North American airspace”.

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China’s hot air balloon flew over the US airspace on February 2. Photo: AP

Earlier, on February 4, by order of the President, the US military deployed an F-22 aircraft, used a missile to shoot down a hot air balloon identified as Chinese flying over the waters off the coast of China. state of South Carolina. This balloon was discovered entering US airspace on January 28 before moving into Canadian airspace on January 30. It then returned to US airspace on January 31, and was not publicly announced until February 2 by US officials.

Washington said it was a spy balloon, calling it a “clear violation” of US sovereignty and notified Beijing of the February 4 downing.

In response, China’s foreign ministry said that its airship’s arrival in the US was a “force majeure accident” and that Beijing “never violated the territory and airspace of any sovereign country”. . The agency said it was a civilian airship for meteorological research and other scientific activities. At the same time, Beijing accused US politicians and media of “taking advantage of the ballooning incident” into US territory to “discredit” Beijing.

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