The U.S. Department of Defense is tracking a high-altitude balloon that crossed over Hawaii and is heading toward Mexico, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
The DOD and Federal Aviation Administration detected and tracked an unmanned balloon that was floating at about 36,000 feet off the coast of Hawaii on April 28, according to the Pentagon.
Three F-22 Raptor stealth fighters were sent to intercept the object, which was eventually determined to be a balloon, according to thedrive.com.
“U.S. Indo-Pacific Command responded to an unidentified radar signature Friday in the vicinity of the island of Hawaii. Pacific Air Forces launched three F-22s to assess the situation and visually identified a spherical object,” a spokesperson for INDOPACOM told the website in a statement.
“We monitored the transit of the object and assessed that it posed no threat. As a part of our normal daily operations, we closely track all vessels and aircraft in the Indo-Pacific area of operations through a combination of joint capabilities to protect the U.S. homeland, support our Allies and partners and secure a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Who owns the balloon is unclear, a Department of Defense spokesperson told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
“Ownership of the balloon is unknown, but there is no indication that it was maneuvering or being controlled by a foreign or adversarial actor,” the spokesperson said
“The balloon did not transit directly over defense critical infrastructure or other U.S. Government sensitive sites, nor did it pose a military or physical threat to people on the ground.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. shot down what military officials described as a spy balloon owned by China after it traversed the U.S.
Soon after, the U.S. along with Canada shot down at least three other unidentified flying objects over Alaska and Canada.
The Pentagon has said that those objects appear to have been either small weather balloons or balloons put in the air by hobbyists.
The U.S. is not likely to take action against the balloon that flew over Hawaii, the spokesperson said.
“Although it was flying at an altitude used by civil aviation, it posed no threat to civil aviation over Hawaii,” the spokesman said. “Based on these observations, the Secretary of Defense concurred with the recommendation of his military commanders that no action need be taken against the balloon.”