Pentagon releases 'unidentified aerial phenomena' videos
By WILLIAM COLE | The Honolulu Star-Advertiser | Published: April 28, 2020
HONOLULU (Tribune News Service) — The Department of Defense has cleared the release of three Navy videos — one from 2004 and the other two from 2015 — taken from F/A-18 aircraft that show what used to be called UFOs, or unidentified flying objects, but which now have been reclassified “unidentified aerial phenomena.”
The official release of the videos follows what the Pentagon called “unauthorized” distribution in 2007 and 2017 — but also the startling admission that the videos were the real deal.
There were a “number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space” the Navy said in 2019, in conjunction with the announcement that it was updating and formalizing the process to report suspected incursions.
The previous release of the videos provided compelling evidence that UFOs were being encountered by Navy aircraft carrier fighter pilots off the east and west coasts of the United States.
In the 2015 video titled “gimbal,” an F/A-18 Super Hornet from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt encountered off the coast of Florida what looked like, well … a flying saucer with a central underbelly protrusion that also made it resemble a spinning top.
The footage was shot above cloud cover at 25,010 feet using the aircraft’s advanced targeting forward-looking infrared sensor. The aircraft was at first identified as a drone.
But then one of the pilots observed, “There’s a whole fleet of them.” Shortly after that, the aircraft tilted to the opposite side.
“Look at that thing, it’s rotating,” one of the incredulous pilots stated.
In 2019, the U.S. Navy admitted the aircraft were indeed what used to be called UFOs.
“The three videos show incursions into our military training ranges by unidentified aerial phenomena,” Navy spokesman Joseph Gradisher told NBC News.
Another video, FLIR, shows video from an F/18 Super Hornet from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz off San Diego capturing a UAP hovering at 24,000 feet and then darting to the left.
The New York Times and To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science, a group cofounded by Tom DeLonge of rock group Blink 182, previously published the videos.
The To The Stars group said the videos and supporting reports represent “the first official evidence released by the U.S. government that can be rightfully designated as credible, authentic confirmation that unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) are real.”
The unknown aircraft “demonstrate flight characteristics of advanced technologies unlike anything we currently know, understand, or can duplicate with current technologies,” the group said on its website.
The Navy, although discussing what was in the videos, previously said the footage were never officially released.
“The U.S. Navy previously acknowledged that these videos circulating in the public domain were indeed Navy videos,” the Pentagon said today in the statement. “After a thorough review, the department has determined that the authorized release of these unclassified videos does not reveal any sensitive capabilities or systems, and does not impinge on any subsequent investigations of military air space incursions by unidentified aerial phenomena.”
The Defense Department also said it was “releasing the videos in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos.”
The Navy in 2019 also announced it was updating and formalizing the process for the reporting of suspected UAP.
“For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the (Air Force) take these reports very seriously and investigate each and every report,” the Navy’s Gradisher said at the time.
A message to the fleet would detail the steps for reporting each incident, Gradisher said. In response to requests for information from congressional members and staff, meanwhile, “Navy officials have provided a series of briefings by senior Naval intelligence officials as well as aviators who reported hazards to aviation safety.”
The step was just one in a long line of government examinations of unexplained aerial phenomena, which include support in one case from former U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, who died in late 2012.
Politico and The New York Times in 2017 revealed the decade-long existence of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which was pushed by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, with the help of Inouye, also a Democrat, and U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, an Alaska Republican.
The program investigated reports of UFOs, the Times said, but more recently, it was revealed the effort had a broader scope.
The Defense Intelligence Agency said in congressional correspondence released through the federal Freedom of Information Act that the purpose of the program was to “investigate foreign advanced aerospace weapons threats.”
Studies looked at futuristic technologies such as invisibility cloaking, traversable wormholes, warp drive, dark energy and the manipulation of extra dimensions.
Defense contractor Raytheon in 2017 took a little credit for the UAP video imagery, saying it was captured by its advanced targeting forward-looking infrared sensors mounted on jets.
“We might be the system that caught the first evidence of E.T. out there,” Aaron Maestas, a Raytheon chief engineer, said in a release. “But I’m not surprised we were able to see it. ATFLIR is designed to operate on targets that are traveling in excess of Mach 1. It’s a very agile optical system with a sensitive detector.”
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