"The second shot hit."
Hard to Miss
It wasn't exactly a difficult shot.
An F-16 fighter jet was dispatched by the US Air Force over Lake Huron on Sunday to shoot down a mysterious object identified in North American airspace.
As US officials admitted this week, the first Sidewinder missile fired by the jet somehow managed to miss its target, metaphorically sinking well over $400,000 in US taxpayer money in the lake below — an embarrassing showing, given that the target likely had no way of propelling itself.
"First shot missed," US Army General Mark Milley told reporters during a press conference today, as quoted by Yahoo News. "The second shot hit."
The Pentagon did at least take plenty of safety precautions before shooting the UFO out of the sky, the fourth object to be spotted since a Chinese spy balloon was discovered and promptly shot down on February 4.
"We determine what the debris field is likely to be with one of these platforms landing on the Earth's surface or in the water," Milley said. "We go to great lengths to make sure that the airspace is clear and the backdrop is clear out to the max effective range of the missile."
"We tracked it all the way down, and we made sure that the airspace was clear of any commercial or civilian or recreational traffic," he added.
Despite the precautions, the military has a steep bill to pay for missing its target. According to Bloomberg, the Department of Defense is allocating $111.9 million of its 2023 budget for 255 AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles, making each worth around $439,000.
In other words, the military spent almost a million dollars worth of missiles to take out a barely moving and presumably uncrewed target, and that's not to mention the fact that an F-16 costs somewhere between $14.6 and $18.8 million, plus maintenance and fuel.
The bungled response will likely draw even more questions. Let's just hope it was all worth it in the end.
READ MORE: U.S. says first missile shot at object above Lake Huron missed its target [Yahoo News]