U.S. F-16 Shoots Down An Unidentified ‘Octagon Shaped’ Object Over Lake Huron


F-16 shoots down object
File photo of F-16 firing an AIM-9X missile during a test (U.S. Air Force photo by Tom Reynolds)

It’s the fourth engagement in little more than one week.

A U.S. F-16 has shot down another “unidentified object” in the Canadian airspace above Lake Huron on Feb. 12, 2023. The downing was announced by a Congressman on Twitter.

The one “decommissioned” on Sunday, was the same unidentified object that NORAD had tracked on Saturday above Montana and Lake Michigan. After a Temporary Flight Restriction was issued in the area and later lifted, NORAD said it had detected a “radar anomaly” and scrambled the fighters to the area, where no object was found. However, the search continued…

According to the WSJ, who cited a Congressional aide, this time it was an F-16 to shoot down the object, that appeared to be shaped like an octagon and was flying at 20,000 feet, posing a threat to commercial aircraft flying in the area.

The engagement marks the fourth time an object was shot down over North America since a (supected) Chinese spy balloon was shot down on Feb. 2 over the Atlantic Ocean, after crossing CONUS from west to east.

The first one was the famous Chinese high altitude balloon shot down on February 4, 2023, at 2:39 p.m. by an F-22 Raptor, belonging to the 1st Fighter Wing from Langley Air Force Base, shot down with an AIM-9X infrared-guided air-to-air missile off the coast of South Carolina and within U.S. territorial airspace. The second one was a “high altitude object” described as “cylindrical and silver-ish gray” and appeared to be floating, that was shot down by F-22 launched from Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson on Feb. 10 over Alaska. The third object was shot down on Feb. 11 over Yukon, Canada. According to some reports, the objects shot down over Alaska and Yukon (second and third downing) were too balloon, although the size of both was smaller than the Chinese one shot down in Feb. 4.

This is how this Author commented the third object being shot down yesterday. It still applies today:

“For the moment we can’t but notice the trend is concerning. What’s particularly interesting is that while the first one was clearly a balloon, the second and third remain unidentified, hence possibly belonging to the category of the so-called UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena). Are these objects unmanned aircraft unleashed to spy on the U.S.? Maybe. For sure something is happening and after the criticism caused by the response to the China’s spy balloon (that flew over the U.S. for days before being shot down over the Atlantic Ocean), NORAD has engaged the “intruders” earlier (off the coast of Alaska, over territorial waters on Feb. 10; most probably over an unpopulated area in Canada, on Feb. 11).”

The number of engagement might be on a raising trend since monitoring of the airspace has been improved following the Chinese balloon incident. Most probably, ROE (Rules of Engagement) have also been changed, leading to early “decommission” of the unidentified object.

Dealing with the asset used to shoot down the “objects”, the F-22s were used for very high altitude objects: as the altitude of the “zombie” (as an unidentified aircraft is called in the fighter pilot lingo) has decreased, more “traditional” fighters, namely the F-16s, could be used to destroy the “intruder”.

Interestingly, no photos of the engagements have been released yet, but pilots have certainly shot some photographs and pointed the targeting pods of their aircraft at the objects.

David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


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