The United States has recovered important sensor and electronics parts from a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon it shot down earlier this month, the US military said on Monday.
“Crews have been able to recover significant debris from the site, including all of the priority sensor and electronics pieces identified as well as large sections of the structure,” the US Northern Command said in a statement.
China insists the balloon, which spent several days flying over North America, was an errant weather observation aircraft with no military purpose, but the United States says it was a sophisticated high-altitude spying vehicle that is part of a program with global reach.
A US F-22 Raptor fighter jet shot it down off the coast of South Carolina on February 4, and teams have since been working to recover the debris for analysis.
American warplanes have downed three other objects since then — one near Alaska, another over Canada and a third over Lake Huron — but authorities have not identified their origin or purpose.