The US Department of Defense (DoD) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are tracking an unmanned balloon that crossed over Hawaii and is now heading toward Mexico. The balloon, detected and tracked by the DoD and FAA on April 28, was floating at an altitude of approximately 36,000 feet, according to a DoD spokesman. The ownership of the balloon is unknown, and there is no indication whether it is being controlled by a foreign or adversarial actor.
The balloon did not float over critical infrastructure or any other US government sensitive sites when it crossed into US airspace over Hawaii, and it posed no threat to the military or people on the ground. The DoD confirmed that it did not need to take any action against the balloon.
In early February, a Chinese surveillance balloon was detected hovering over Montana, traversing the entire continental US before the Biden administration ordered to shoot it down off the coast of South Carolina. The Chinese claimed it was a civilian craft gone adrift, but the US officials insisted it was a surveillance vessel.
According to a report issued in early April, the Biden administration has struggled to block the intelligence gathering of the Chinese spy balloon, which ultimately fed information to Beijing in real-time. However, there is no evidence that the current balloon is associated with any foreign military activity.
The DoD said it will continue to track the movement of the balloon with the FAA as it progresses toward Mexico.