A balloon that was flying off the coast of Hawaii last week has been monitored by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Defense Department, but a defense official said on Tuesday that there is no evidence that it is connected to China or any other adversary and that it poses no threats to national security or aviation.
When radar first picked up the balloon on Friday, “Pacific Air Forces launched three F-22s to assess the situation and visually identified a spherical object,” according to the U.S. According to Indo-Pacific Command. After seeing it traverse the earth, we assessed that the object did not represent a threat.
According to the defense official, the balloon was floating at a height of roughly 36,000 feet (11,000 meters), and it did not go over any sensitive locations or critical defense installations.
The military took no action to bring the balloon down after deciding that it posed no threat to individuals on the ground or to aviation over Hawaii, according to the official, who spoke anonymously to discuss military operations.
The official stated that the balloon’s owner is unknown as it has left Hawaii’s airspace.
The most recent balloon sighting occurred roughly three months after the American military shot down what authorities claimed to be a Chinese spy balloon that had flown over Alaska and part of Canada before returning to the United States and arousing considerable attention as it did so.
On February 4, it was shot down over the Atlantic near the coast of South Carolina. The U.S. military was able to recover significant amounts of the balloon.
As part of a massive, military-linked aerial surveillance program that targeted more than 40 countries, U.S. authorities claimed it was equipped to identify and gather intelligence signals.
Beijing maintained that the balloon was simply a misbehaving civilian airship that was primarily employed for meteorological research and that became deviated owing to the wind and had very rudimentary “self-steering” abilities.
In recent years, numerous additional balloons have been traced over or close to the United States, but none lingered there for as long as that one did, according to the U.S. military.
The event caused the U.S. and China’s relationship to deteriorate further.