The Defense Department spent at least $1.5 million to shoot down three unidentified objects that the Biden administration now says may have been recreational balloons.
Air Force jets used four $400,000 AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles to down the objects over Alaska, Canada’s Yukon territory, and Lake Huron. Government officials told the Wall Street Journal that there was a $1.5 million price tag for the four AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles the Pentagon authorized to shoot down the three objects, which President Joe Biden admitted last week may have been easy to identify after all.
“The intelligence community’s current assessment is that these three objects were most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreation, or research institutions studying weather or conducting other scientific research,” Biden said of the headline-grabbing unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs).
However, a defense official told The Post that the total doesn’t include the cost of the flights used to track and shoot down the devices — since those flight hours were considered part of previously budgeted pilot training.
It also doesn’t include the price of the Navy, Coast Guard, Alaska National Guard, and Canadian forces scouring the remote regions for debris.
The individuals who talked to the newspaper anonymously mentioned that the expenses for bringing down the three unidentified flying objects are expected to increase by hundreds of thousands of dollars due to investigative measures.
It is important to note that the mentioned amount does not cover the cost incurred by the US taxpayer to shoot down the alleged Chinese “spy balloon” using an F-22 Raptor fighter jet.
That object was downed on Feb. 4 off the coast of South Carolina by US fighter jets — but not before it sailed over sensitive military installations across the lower 48.
The debris from the balloon has been recovered from the Atlantic and is being examined at the FBI laboratory at Quantico, Va.