Report: Biden Admin Spent $1.6 Million To Down Harmless Flying Objects

A U.S. F-16 fighter (Getty Images)
February 24, 2023

The Biden administration spent more than $1.6 million shooting down three unidentified flying objects that the White House admitted were likely private recreation or research devices.

U.S. fighter jets fired four AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles, which cost $400,000 each, to take down the unknown objects over Alaska, Northern Canada, and Lake Huron earlier this month. The total doesn't include the cost of the flights or the Navy, Coast Guard, and National Guard deployments that searched for remnants, the New York Post reported.

The cost of flying an F-22 fighter jet for one hour is roughly $70,000, according to the Post.

President Joe Biden said in a speech last week that all three objects shot down "are most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreational or research institutions, studying weather or conducting other scientific research."

Reports have circulated in recent weeks about the possible identities of the devices that were shot down. An Illinois hobby group lost a ham radio balloon that last pinged off the coast of Alaska. The military has not confirmed whether that was the device it shot down. U.S. officials called off the searches on Feb. 17 due to the difficulty of retrieving the objects' debris.

The three devices were spotted over U.S. airspace a week after the Biden administration allowed a Chinese spy balloon to traverse the continental United States, including over military and nuclear sites. The balloon was finally shot down by a fighter jet off the coast of South Carolina on Feb. 4.

Biden blamed sensitive radars for the military spotting more flying objects, saying they need to "keep adapting our approach to dealing with these challenges."

"We don't have any evidence that there has been a sudden increase in the number of objects in the sky," the president said. "We're now just seeing more of them partially because [of] the steps we've taken to increase our radars, to narrow our radars."

When journalists sought answers from Biden on the topic, he scolded them to be more "polite."

Published under: China , Joe Biden