US Military Says It Started Shooting Down UFOs After Adjusting Radars

According to NORAD's commander, the objects the US started shooting down were previously filtered out as clutter

Explaining why the US military just shot down three unidentified flying objects, the commander of US Northern Command said it was due to a radar adjustment that was made after a Chinese balloon was spotted over the US.

Air Force Gen. Glen VanHerck, who heads NORTHCOM and NORAD, told reporters Sunday that the adjustments that were made mean the radars pick up slower and smaller objects that were previously filtered out by clutter.

“With some adjustments, we’ve been able to get a better categorization of radar tracks now. And that’s why I think you’re seeing these overall. Plus, there’s a heightened alert to look for this information,” VanHerck said.

VanHerck’s comments suggest that objects similar to the ones the US shot down in recent days frequently travel in US and Canadian airspace, but the US military just started shooting them down.

A report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released in January said there were 366 UFOs reported to the US military in about a year and a half. Of those incidents, 163 were found to be balloons, 26 were drones, and six more were airborne clutter or birds. The other 171 incidents have not yet been attributed.

The US military shot down the three UFOs within a day of spotting them, exercising much less caution than it approached the Chinese balloon that was eventually downed off the coast of South Carolina. The Pentagon said it shot down the other objects more quickly because they were traveling at an altitude that endangered commercial aircraft, unlike the Chinese balloon.

VanHerck said that the recent incidents were unprecedented in US history. “I believe this is the first time within United States or America airspace that NORAD or United States Northern Command has taken kinetic action against an airborne object,” he said.

It’s not clear what the three objects were that the US shot down. Now that the military is quick to pull the trigger against flying objects, it raises the risk of an accidental shoot-down of an aircraft carrying civilians or the possibility of debris hurting people on the ground.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.