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World leaders should stop shooting down UFOs until they know where they have come from, one of Britain’s top ex air chiefs has said.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon suggested blasting suspicious craft to smithereens with fighter jets was not the best way to determine their origin.
He spoke out after the US Government was accused of a "cover-up" following the shooting down of three UFOs in three days over the US.
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Asked if the craft could be linked to extraterrestrials US Air Force General Glen VanHerck said he had not "ruled out anything".
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre then tried to reassure the "American people" by saying there was "no indication" of "aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns".
But US defence chiefs have claimed they still had not recovered the wreckage and had no idea what the UFOs were.
Sir Michael, 84, a former Chief of the Air Staff who was commander in chief of RAF Strike Command during the 1990 Gulf War, suggested restraint should more craft be spotted.
“Until we know what’s actually in them they’re an irritation, certainly, and it’s highly likely it’s got some spy equipment on it,’’ he told LBC Radio.
“But it would be very useful, wouldn’t it, to find out what’s in it before we get our knickers to much in the twist on that?’’
Asked if similar vessels should be taken out if they entered UK airspace he replied: “Probably the most likely is let it drift out towards sea and then shoot it down there.
“But I go back to what I said to start with – it would be very useful to find out what’s actually in them before we get too excited.’’
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The triple take-downs came after US pilots downed a Chinese spy balloon flying at 60,000ft off the coast of South Carolina on February 4.
China admitted it belonged to them though insisted it was simply a weather balloon that had gone off course.
But it took no responsibility for the three others.
A car-sized object interfered with the sensors of two F-22 Raptor fighters before they shot it down over Deadhorse, Alasha, on Friday (Feb 10).
A second cylinder-shaped UFO was blasted out of the sky over Yukon in Canada 24 hours later (Feb 11) after consultation between US President Joe Biden and his counterpart north of the border Justin Trudeau.
The third – neutralised by an F-16 fighter at 20,000ft over the Great Lakes on Sunday (Feb 12) – was described by defence officials as an unmanned octagonal structure’ with potential surveillance capabilities’ and strings attached to it.
Military chiefs admitted that take-down had needed two Sidewinder missiles costing £660,000 because the first shot missed.
They claimed the Chinese military operated an army of surveillance balloons.
But Sir Michael said it was "not clear" why the nation would need them when it had 260 spy satellites.
“What they are getting from a balloon that they can’t get from other sources is not clear to me at all," he said.
“Probably we have enough information available from satellites which they are able to get on to, and frankly using Google and all the rest of it, would give them an awful lot of information."
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has claimed Britain has a "watertight rapid response" capability to "intercept" any such threat to the UK.
But former British ambassador to the US and national security adviser Lord Kim Darroch said he was not convinced.
The UK’s E-3 Sentry aircraft have been sold to Chile leaving the nation currently without surveillance planes.
“I think we have under-invested in defence for the last couple of decades – one might argue ever since the end of the Cold War – and we don’t have all the kit and equipment that we really need and there are gaps around in the technology our armed forces have," he said.
“So we will have some capability. Whether we have a watertight capability as the Prime Minister says I’m not so sure."
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