UFOs? Airborne objects? What we know about 4 recent shootdowns

navy UFO footage
Navy released UFO footage

The recent shootdowns of four high-altitude objects by U.S. fighter jets have left the world baffled and questioning what is really going on. The first instance in which the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) took kinetic action against an airborne object in U.S. airspace over NORAD’s nearly 65-year existence has raised eyebrows and sparked intense interest in the identity and origin of these objects. While officials have been quick to downplay claims of extraterrestrial involvement, the government’s vague language and seeming lack of transparency has left many questioning whether they are being truthful about their knowledge of these craft.

The shootdowns came in steady succession over the weekend, after alarms were raised in early February over an object that the U.S. said was a surveillance balloon deployed by China. China has accused the U.S. of flying its own spy balloons over China – a claim rejected by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“We do not send spy balloons over China, period,” Blinken told NPR’s Morning Edition.

The shootdowns of these objects, yet to be publicly identified, have left many wondering whether they could be alien UFOs. The congressional lawmakers are also asking questions about the objects shot down over the weekend; the Senate will hold a classified briefing with members on Tuesday.

“There is no – again, no — indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at Monday’s daily press briefing. John Kirby, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, told reporters that “all manner of innocuous craft” can fly at the same altitudes. That includes aircraft used by companies and countries for purposes that are “not nefarious at all.”

However, the vague language used by officials has only added to the speculation surrounding these events. When U.S. officials describe these incidents, they often use language that’s purposefully vague, such as “high altitude airborne objects.” It’s an attempt to be accurate while still reporting preliminary data, but the approach can be intriguing, and it also provokes public speculation.

For instance, here’s Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder from last Friday, talking about that day’s shootdown: “We have no further details about the object at this time, including any description of its capabilities, purpose, or origin.”

When a reporter asked VanHerck on Sunday if the U.S. military has ruled out potential actions by extraterrestrials, he did not dismiss the idea.

“I haven’t ruled out anything,” he said. “At this point, we continue to assess every threat or potential threats unknown that approaches North America with an attempt to identify it.”

“We call them objects for a reason,” VanHerck said. And while the initial incident involved a balloon, he added, “These are objects. I am not able to categorize how they stay aloft. It could be a gaseous type of balloon inside a structure or it could be some type of a propulsion system. But clearly, they’re — they’re able to stay aloft.”

The recent surge in unexplained objects can be attributed, at least in part, to increased scrutiny and enhanced radar techniques. The U.S. has been on the alert to look for spy balloons and unauthorized objects since the Chinese balloon caused a national sensation and political outrage. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs Melissa G. Dalton stated that the incident also helped the U.S. learn more about what to look for in detecting similar objects, including adjusting radar-filtering systems known as “gates.”

However, the eerily similar circumstances of these incidents to the 1947 Roswell UFO wreckage and the government’s explanation of the UFO at that time have fueled conspiracy theories that these objects could be extraterrestrial in nature.

general ramey roswell
Roswell NM 1947

The Roswell incident, which occurred in July 1947, involved the alleged recovery of a crashed UFO near Roswell, New Mexico. The U.S. government initially stated that the object was a weather balloon, but conspiracy theorists have claimed that it was actually a crashed extraterrestrial spacecraft and that the government was covering up the truth.

Given the government’s lack of transparency about the recent shootdowns and the vague language used to describe the objects, some people have speculated that history could be repeating itself. Could these recent incidents be the first time the United States has shot down UFOs on United States soil?

While there is no concrete evidence to support this theory, the lack of information provided by officials has left many people questioning what is really going on. The fact that officials have not been able to identify the objects or provide a clear explanation for their presence only adds to the speculation.

The lack of information provided by the government has also fueled concerns about the potential implications of these incidents. What if these objects are actually part of a foreign government’s military program, or worse, part of an extraterrestrial invasion? These are the kinds of questions that are likely to keep people up at night until more information is released.

In the meantime, the government’s reassurances that there is “no indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity” may not be enough to quell the public’s curiosity and speculation. As more information about these incidents is released, it will be interesting to see whether the government’s explanation will satisfy the public’s hunger for answers or whether it will only fuel further speculation and conspiracy theories.

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