F-22 Raptor launching AIM-9 Sidewinder
An AIM-9 Sidewinder missile successfully launches from an F-22 Raptor during a launch test Tuesday, July 25. U.S. Air Force / Photo by Judson Brohmer


  • The U.S. may have shot down an Illinois hobbyist club's missing pico balloon
  • It was projected to fly over Canada's Yukon territory Saturday
  • That was the same day a U.S. F-22 fighter shot down an object in the area

The unidentified flying object (UFO) that an American fighter jet downed in Canadian air space last weekend with a missile that cost nearly half a million dollars could have been an Illinois hobbyist club's missing balloon.

A U.S. Air Force Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor shot down an object over Canada's northern Yukon territory Saturday under the orders of U.S. President Joe Biden and his Canadian counterpart, Justin Trudeau.

The fifth-generation fighter aircraft used an AIM-9X Sidewinder during the encounter, which is a short-range air-to-air missile that cost around $472,000 each, according to a report by New York magazine's Intelligencer.

Canadian Defense Secretary Anita Anand described the downed object as cylindrical and noted that it was smaller than the Chinese spy balloon that was also shot down by an F-22 off the coast of South Carolina on Feb. 4.

U.S.-based magazine Aviation Week & Space Technology has theorized that the object could have belonged to the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade (NIBBB) hobbyist club.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's HYSPLIT forecasting tool supposedly projected that one of the NIBBB's pico balloons, labeled K9YO, should have flown over the central part of the Yukon by Saturday - the same day the U.S. shot down a UFO in the area.

However, the NIBBB reported the balloon missing in action in a Tuesday blog post.

Its last known position on Feb. 10 was 38,910 feet off the coast of Alaska.

The description for the UFO shot down in the Yukon area matched the shapes, altitudes and payloads of small pico balloons, which can usually cost between $12 to $180 each, depending on the type, per Aviation Week & Space Technology.

White House National Security Council adviser John Kirby previously told reporters that the object downed in Canada "could just be balloons tied to some commercial or benign purpose."

Canadian Army Gen. Wayne Eyre, the chief of Canada's Defense Staff, also revealed in a statement that the UFO was believed to be a balloon.

The NIBBB has not blamed the U.S. government for taking out K9YO, which was around 32 inches wide.

The suspected Chinese spy balloon drifts to the ocean after being shot down off the coast in Surfside Beach