US Military
U.S. says it has now recovered key electronics, including sensors, from the suspected Chinese spy balloon. choochart choochaikupt/Gettyimages

The U.S. military announced on Monday that it had retrieved essential equipment from the balloon, including important sensors likely used for intelligence collection. The alleged Chinese spy balloon was shot down by an American fighter jet off the coast of South Carolina on Feb. 4.

The U.S. military's Northern Command said in a statement, "Crews have been able to recover significant debris from the site, including all of the priority sensor and electronics pieces identified as well as large sections of the structure."

Before President Joe Biden ordered its destruction, the Chinese balloon had been flying over the United States and Canada for a week. Beijing denies that it was a government spy vessel. The incident soured relations between Washington and Beijing and caused the America's top diplomat to cancel a trip to China.

Additionally, it prompted the U.S. military to search the sky for other targets that were not being picked up by radar, which resulted in an unprecedented three shootdowns between Friday and Sunday.

The U.S. military and the Biden administration have admitted that there are still many unanswered questions regarding the most recent unmanned objects, including how they maintain their altitude, who manufactured them, and whether or not they may have been used for intelligence gathering.

On Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tried to reassure people about the dangers posed by the unidentified objects.

"I want to reassure Americans that these objects do not present a military threat to anyone on the ground," Austin said, speaking to reporters as he landed in Brussels for a NATO gathering, Reuters reported.

"They do, however, present a risk to civil aviation and potentially an intelligence collection threat."

Given their smaller size and lack of a conventional radar signature, the newer items have proven more challenging to target than the Chinese spy balloon, according to the U.S. military.

A U.S. official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity, that the latest shootdown of an unidentified object by an F-16 fighter jet on Sunday involved two sidewinder missiles because one of them had failed to bring the target down.

Austin claimed that none of the three most recent targets shot down, one of which landed in ice and snow off the coast of Alaska, have had any debris recovered by the American military. Over the Canadian territory of Yukon, there was yet another shootdown.

United States officials have refrained from linking the occurrences.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated on Monday that there was some connection between the four aerial objects that were shot down recently.

Trudeau told reporters in a news conference in Whitehorse, Yukon's capital, "Obviously there is some sort of pattern in there, the fact we are seeing this in a significant degree over the past week is a cause for interest and close attention."

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