F-22 Raptor shoots down unidentified cylindrical object over Canada

F-22 Raptor shoots down unidentified cylindrical object over Canada

By Dario Leone
Feb 12 2023
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A USAF F-22 shot down the object in Canadian territory, using an AIM 9X missile following close co-ordination between US and Canadian authorities.

An unidentified cylindrical object over Canada was shot down by a US Air Force (USAF) F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jet on Feb. 11, 2023 the second such instance in as many days, as North America appeared on edge following a week-long Chinese spying balloon saga that drew the global spotlight.

This shooting down is the third aerial kill scored by the F-22 Raptor.

Moreover, Reuters reports that the US military also scrambled fighter jets in Montana to investigate a radar anomaly that triggered a brief federal closure of airspace.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said in a statement that “Those aircraft did not identify any object to correlate the radar hits.”

The shootdown was first announced on Saturday by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The take down took place over the northern Yukon territory. He added that Canadian forces would recover and analyze the wreckage.

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

Anita Anand, Canadian Defence Minister, said that the object was cylindrical in shape but she declined to speculate about the origin of the object.

She said it was smaller than the Chinese balloon shot down off South Carolina’s coast a week ago, but she stopped short of calling it a balloon though similar in appearance.

NORAD commander said the Pentagon Failed to detect Previous Chinese Spy Balloons flying over US highlighting a Gap in America’s air defenses
The Chinese spy balloon as it drifts over Myrtle Beach shortly before the shoot-down on Feb. 4, 2023

Anand added that aloft at 40,000 feet (12,200 m), it posed a risk to civilian air traffic and was shot down at 3:41 EST (2041 GMT).

“There is no reason to believe that the impact of the object in Canadian territory is of any public concern,” she told a news conference.

NORAD detected the object over Alaska late on Feb. 10, the Pentagon said.

USAF fighter jets from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, monitored the object as it crossed over into Canadian airspace, where Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CF-18 and CP-140 aircraft joined the formation to further assess the object.

Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said in a statement: “A U.S. F-22 shot down the object in Canadian territory, using an AIM 9X missile following close co-ordination between U.S. and Canadian authorities.”

The Pentagon added that US President Joe Biden authorized the US military to work with Canada to take down the high-altitude craft after a call between Biden and Trudeau.

The White House said Biden and Trudeau agreed to continue close coordination to “defend our airspace.”

It said in a statement: “The leaders discussed the importance of recovering the object in order to determine more details on its purpose or origin.”

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Saturday’s take down of an unidentified object is the third such incident in one week.

As already reported on Feb. 10, a USAF F-22 shot down an unidentified object by means of an AIM-9X Sidewinder over Alaskan airspace after it had been monitored by the US since the evening of Feb. 9.

According to CNN, pilots gave different accounts of what they observed after coming near the object, a source briefed on the intelligence told CNN; some pilots said it “interfered with their sensors,” but other pilots said they didn’t experience that.

The object was flying at 40,000 feet, which made it a risk to civilian traffic. That set it apart from the Chinese surveillance balloon, which was traveling “well above commercial air traffic,” Ryder said at the time.

The Chinese balloon was shot down by an AIM-9X fired by an F-22 off the coast of South Carolina on Feb 4, after traveling across the US. That shooting down represented the first aerial kill for the Raptor. Biden administration officials said it posed little intelligence gathering and military risk.

However, since it was roughly 200 feet tall and the payload weighed more than a couple of thousand pounds it did pose a risk to people and property on the ground if it were to be shot down, as officials said it was.

The US military is still working to recover debris from the balloon on the ocean floor. Ryder said Friday that they have “located a significant amount of debris so far that will prove helpful to our further understanding of this balloon and its surveillance capabilities.”

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.
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