WASHINGTON -- Downtown workers and tourists were surprised to see a F-35 Marine Corps fighter plane flying overhead during the lunch hours Wednesday afternoon.
The flyover was part of Polish President Andrzej Sebastian Duda's visit to the White House. Duda and President Donald Trump held a joint press conference Wednesday to announce Poland is buying more than 30 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets from the U.S.
Duda, Trump and their respective partners watched the flyover just before 2 p.m. on Wednesday. The jet flew overhead once, buzzed around the Washington Monument, then flew directly over the presidents as they waved to the sky.
Metro PD said they were informed of the plan for the flyover Wednesday morning ahead of the event. They tweeted out an alert about an hour beforehand.
"We coordinated with the Department of Defense and other capital region partners to ensure safe operations over the District of Columbia and at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport during the event, as we do with any similar event in this area," FAA said in a release.
The airspace in Washington D.C. is well known for being some of the most restrictive in the country.
Several people working downtown messaged WUSA9 to ask what was happening and noted their alarm at the low flying plane.
"This was the view just over our office but we were all diving into closets," Bluestone Logic tweeted Wednesday night.
At the press conference Wednesday, Trump also announced he is sending 1,000 more US troops to Poland as part of his broadening security and economic alliance.
The Associated Press reports Polish leaders have lobbied for additional forces for months and had hoped for a permanent U.S. base they said could be called "Fort Trump."
Following the Russian annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014, the U.S. has again been increasing military activity in Europe in concert with NATO allies. That includes stationing four multinational battalion-size battlegroups in alliance members Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, led respectively by the U.S., Britain, Canada and Germany.
The Eastern European nations have reached out to the U.S. and NATO for greater protection, worrying that they might be the next target of Russia's military advance.
The increase in U.S. forces in the region also reflects America's new national defense strategy that declares great-power competition with China and Russia as a top priority.
This story has been updated with a statement from the FAA.