The North American Aerospace Defense Command felt that taking gunshots at the objects shot down Saturday and Sunday, in an attempt to better preserve them for examination on the ground, was “unachievable,” in part due to the relatively small size of those objects.
“We assessed taking a gunshot yesterday in that event, as well as today, and the pilots in each situation felt that that was really unachievable because of the size, especially yesterday in the altitude and also because of the challenge to acquire it visually because it's so small,” Gen. Glen VanHerck, the commander of NORAD and the US Northern Command, said Sunday.
VanHerck was also concerned for the safety of the pilots and anyone on the ground or on water.
“We have taken extreme caution to ensure that we limit potential collateral damage, so today, we worked closely with the FAA to clear out the airspace. I gave direction specifically to the pilots to use their visual acuity to check for mariners on the ground, airplanes in the air to clear with their radars as well. And when they were comfortable, that we can minimize collateral damage, they selected the best weapon today that was the AIM 9x (missile). And they took the shot,” VanHerck said.
US fighter jets shot down an airborne object over Lake Huron on Sunday and an unidentified object over northern Canada a day earlier.