Here’s why unexplained flying objects are suddenly appearing everywhere, said the general in charge of the orders to shoot them down.

by; Edited by News Gate Team

U.S. Air Force Maj. Josh Gunderson, F-22 Demonstration Team commander, performs during a practice at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., May 29, 2020. US Air Force photo by Lt. Sam Eckholm© US Air Force photo by Lt. Sam Eckholm

There is a reason why enigmatic flying objects suddenly seem to be appearing everywhere, according to a US Air Force general in charge of the forces responsible for protecting US and Canadian airspace. The military now searches for them in a different way.

  • Four suspicious flying objects have been shot down over North American skies in recent days.
  • The commander of NORAD and NORTHCOM explained why more of these objects seem to suddenly be popping up.
  • NORAD changed its radar filters to help spot smaller, slower objects after a Chinese spy balloon drifted over the US.

The head of the military commands involved in shooting down these objects flying over the US and Canada revealed in a briefing on Sunday that the increase in discovery and engagement is the result of a modification to the radar filters after the Chinese spy balloon drifted across the continental US earlier this month. Four objects, one Chinese surveillance balloon and three other smaller objects, were shot down in the course of about a week.

North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Northern Command chief Gen. Glen VanHerck reported that NORAD began looking for considerably smaller, slower-moving flying objects while also making changes to filtration based on altitude. Typically, fighter jets or bombers, which travel at great speeds, are sought after by NORAD’s radar detection.

Very small things that produce a very, very low radar cross-section are what VanHerck described as being visible. These are, if you will, very slow objects in space that are effectively moving at the speed of the wind.

VanHerck said he believes the increased ability to detect these objects can be attributed to the radar adjustments and that operators are on “heightened alert” and looking more closely for these smaller and slower objects. Since the US Air Force shot down the Chinese balloon in early February, fighter jets have downed three additional airborne objects.

A balloon flies in the sky over Billings, Montana, on February 1, 2022. Chase Doak/via REUTERS© Chase Doak/via REUTERS

A single AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile was fired by an F-22 Raptor, a stealth fifth-generation fighter jet, to bring down the Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina on February 4. The massive apparatus then fell almost 60,000 feet into the Atlantic Ocean.

A few days later, on February 10, an F-22 downed an unidentified object over Alaska using an AIM-9X. According to US officials, this item was flying at a height of 40,000 feet and presented a danger to commercial aircraft. The following day, on February 11, an F-22 fired an AIM-9X to destroy a target over northern Canada.

After nearly two decades in service, the F-22, which recorded its first three air-to-air kills, was finally given a break on Sunday when an F-16, still utilizing the AIM-9X, downed an object over Lake Huron that was flying at a low altitude of 20,000 feet, considerably lower than the cruising altitude of many commercial aircraft.

While the US recognized the first object as a high-altitude Chinese observation balloon, the North American armies have yet to publicly explain what the other objects are and what purpose they serve. They have only provided a few specifics concerning size and shape.

Although the US has not been able to determine what these recent objects over the weekend were from, Melissa Dalton, the assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and hemispheric affairs, stated on Sunday that the decision to shoot them down was still made out of “abundance of caution to protect our security and interests.”

She continued, saying that although the recent objects did not constitute a “kinetic military threat,” they were passing close to “important” US military installations and their very low altitude made them potentially dangerous to aircraft of all kinds.

“We have been more carefully monitoring our air space at these altitudes, including improving our radar,” Dalton said. “This may at least partially explain the increase of objects that we’ve observed over the past week.” We also know that a variety of organizations, including nations, businesses, and research institutions operate objects at these altitudes for legal study as well as other non-nefarious purposes.

It’s unclear where all of the debris came from as recovery personnel try to gather it from the fallen objects. At a press conference last week, Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder informed the media that China maintains a global network of surveillance balloons that spans across five continents and numerous regions. However, it is unknown whether the objects that were shot down in the wake of the Chinese spy balloon were also of Chinese origin.

On February 13, 2023, this item was amended to reflect that, with each command having jurisdiction over distinct operations, both NORAD and NORTHCOM were involved in the downing of suspicious objects in US and Canadian airspace. Gen Glen VanHerck of the US Air Force is in charge of both commands.

by; Edited by News Gate Team

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