According to officials, a mystery ball floating above Hawaii led the US military to scramble fighter planes to investigate.
According to Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, Hawaii’s adjutant general, the object spotted over Kauai on Monday, Feb. 14, looked to be an unmanned balloon with no identification markings.
“Indo-Pacific Command detected a high-altitude object floating in the air in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands. In accordance with homeland defense procedures, Pacific Air Forces launched tactical aircraft to intercept and identify the object, visually confirming an unmanned balloon without observable identification markings,” Kenneth Hara stated.
While the military has not provided specifics about the aircraft used in operation, F-22s are the sole fighter jets stationed in Hawaii.
The 199th Fighter Squadron (199 FS) of the Hawaii Air National Guard is headquartered at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu, Hawaii, as part of the 154th Wing. The unit is outfitted with an F-22A Raptor. The F-22 is frequently assigned to quick-response alert missions.
Locals have also corroborated that the military utilized Raptors in the reported incidence, which they characterize as a UFO. Videos posted to the “Kauai Community” Facebook page show what looks to be a stationary white rectangular object in the sky, surrounded by at least two line-shaped clouds.
Some residents, piqued by the potential of a UFO sighting, said that the object appeared stationary. “Someone who works in aviation here on the island received information that F-22s were intercepting a UFO.”
To them, a UFO is an unidentified flying object. “Because it is a STATIONARY object,” one commenter writes. “According to the aviation analyst, the UFO is many miles offshore from Princeville over the ocean.” It was stationary for at least 40 minutes.”
The “responding aircraft did not destroy the balloon.” according to an Air Force spokesperson on Thursday, February 17. “At this time, we don’t have anything else to provide,” the official said, adding that the service is “actively monitoring it via joint capabilities, and it is under evaluation.”
This incident chooses to focus on a far more significant issue: the use of balloons to gather surveillance data. Data from radar and communications networks are collected using balloons. The Pentagon is also looking at the use of spy balloons.
According to 2019 reports, the United States military is working on high-altitude solar-powered balloons that will allow the Pentagon to perform continuous surveillance over the country. However, because the Pacific Missile Range’s primary facility is on Kauai’s northern shore, the recent event might cause the US military significant anxiety.
According to the US military, the facility is part of “the world’s largest instrumented multi-environmental range capable of supporting surface, subsurface, air, and space operations simultaneously,” Moreover, during the 2000s, the military performed a range of missile defense experiments at this facility.
A total of 42,000 square miles of restricted airspace and over 1,100 square miles of instrumented underwater range are available. In addition to missile defense, the facility hosts training exercises ranging from small single-unit drills to large-scale multi-unit battle group simulations.
Given the critical equipment installed there, as well as the sensitive electromagnetic waves some of it emits, America’s adversaries are bound to be intrigued.