A newly-declassified Pentagon report on a spate of UFO sightings by members of the US military has offered no explanation for their origin – and failed to rule out the possibility of aliens.
The report, submitted to Congress and released to the public on Friday, said defense and intelligence analysts lack sufficient data to determine the nature of mysterious flying objects.
Those objects were observed by military pilots, with experts considering whether they are advanced earthly technologies, atmospherics or of an extraterrestrial nature.
Friday’s report encompasses 144 observations of what the government officially refers to as ‘unidentified aerial phenomenon,’ or UAP, dating back to 2004. The report was issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in conjunction with a U.S. Navy-led UAP task force.
The report includes some UFO cases that previously came to light in the Pentagon’s release of video from U.S. Naval aviators.
They showed mysterious aircraft off the U.S. East and West Coasts exhibiting speed and maneuverability exceeding known aviation technologies and lacking any visible means of propulsion or flight-control surfaces.
A senior U.S. official, asked about the possibility of extraterrestrial explanations for the observations, said: ‘That’s not the purpose of the task force, to evaluate any sort of search for extraterrestrial life. … That’s not what we were charged with doing.
‘Of the 144 reports we are dealing with here, we have no clear indications that there is any non-terrestrial explanation for them – but we will go wherever the data takes us,’ the official added.
The USS Omaha filmed a round object making a controlled flight above the water for an extended period of time before it finally entered the ocean
The Pentagon’s report was released to Congress on Friday, but offered no information on what the UFOs might be
All but four of the sightings, which were attributed to ‘airborne clutter,’ remain unexplained, subject to further analysis, U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters during a briefing describing the report’s findings.
For the remaining 140 cases, the government has yet to rule in or out whether the sightings might be of extraterrestrial origin, the officials said.
Likewise, the task force lacks enough evidence to conclude whether any of those incidents represented some exotic aerial system developed either by a U.S. government or commercial entity, or by a foreign power, according to the officials.
‘Of data we have, we don’t have any clear indications that any of these unidentified aerial phenomena are part of a foreign (intelligence) collection program, and we don’t have any clear data that is indicative of a major technological advancement by a potential adversary,’ the senior official said.
‘We continue to put a lot of effort and energy into tracking those types of developments, and we watch that very carefully. Nothing in this data set clearly points us into that direction,’ the official added.
The government in recent years has adopted UAP as its preferred term for what are otherwise known as ‘unidentified flying objects,’ or UFOs, long associated with the notion of alien spacecraft.
A second senior official said that 21 of the reports show UAPs ‘that appear to have some sort of advanced propulsion or advanced technology,’ and appear to lack any means of propulsion or acceleration and exhibit speeds beyond what the United States believes foreign adversaries possess.
The report was ordered by Congress as part of broader intelligence legislation signed by former President Donald Trump in December. Senator Marco Rubio was instrumental in commissioning it.
Friday’s report marks a turning point for the U.S. government after the military spent decades deflecting, debunking and discrediting observations of unidentified flying objects and ‘flying saucers’ backing back to the 1940s.
Many of those sightings are actually believed to have been experimental, top-secret US government aircraft, with officials gladly going along with UFO stories to keep attention off their cutting-edge projects.
But the Pentagon has taken a far more sober approach to the latest spate of sightings – perhaps because so many were caught on camera by respected military personnel.
‘Anytime there is a safety-of-flight or counterintelligence concern we take those things very seriously and we will continue to take those things seriously,’ the first senior official said.
The second senior official added, ‘Our approach has been driven by science and data.’
A number of naval aviators have come forward in recent years to discuss their observations of UAPs with documentary filmmakers and news organizations including Reuters.
‘A lot of the work that the task force has done to date has been on the de-stigmatization issue, ensuring that those who observe unidentified things are comfortable reporting that and that it’s clear how they should report that,’ the first official said.
He was referring to the fears of servicemen and women who were reluctant to report what they’d seen over fears they’d be laughed off as crackpots.
‘I think DoD (the Department of Defense) has made very significant strides in recent months in getting the message out on that,’ the official continued.
It is not the first official U.S. government report on the subject. For example, the U.S. Air Force carried out a previous UFO investigation called Project Blue Book , ended in 1969, that compiled a list of 12,618 sightings, 701 of which involved objects that officially remained ‘unidentified.’
In 1994, the Air Force announced that it had completed a study to locate records relating to the 1947 ‘Roswell incident’ in New Mexico.
That saw a silvery object smash into the desert near the remote town. It was initially reported as a downed flying saucer, but officials have since insisted that the Roswell object was in fact a downed balloon.
Some of the most notable UFO sightings made by US military personnel – that were featured in the report – include…
USS Omaha in 2019 in restricted waters off the coast of southern California (leaked May 2021)
The USS Omaha filmed a round object making a controlled flight above the water for an extended period of time before it finally entered the ocean. Investigative filmmaker Jeremy Corbell shared the footage with Mystery Wire in May.
Still images from that video were first released in April as the Pentagon confirmed that a set of photos and videos showing unidentified flying objects buzzing over Navy warships off the coast of California in 2019 ‘were taken’ by branch personnel.
Staff could be heard exclaiming excitedly as the object made a controlled, gradual descent into the Pacific Ocean, before disappearing with a splash.
No explanation for the spherical object has been given…
The Independence Class littoral combat ship USS Omaha (LCS 12) transits the Pacific Ocean
One of the images appears to be a pyramid-shaped object while others were thought to be drones or balloons; however, the Navy has listed them as unknowns.
In a statement, a Pentagon spokesperson told Mystery Wire: ‘I can confirm that the referenced photos and videos were taken by Navy personnel. The UAPTF has included these incidents in their ongoing examinations.’
The confirmation came a week after Admiral Michael Gilday, the chief of naval operations, admitted that he has no idea where the swarm of mysterious Tic Tac-shaped drones that menaced four US destroyers in July 2019 originated.
Gilday led an investigation into the incident in which a group of what some have called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) chased the destroyers for up to 100 nautical miles off the coast of California.
The USS Omaha filmed a round object making a controlled flight above the water for an extended period of time before it finally entered the ocean
F/A-18E Super Hornets assigned to the Tomcatters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 returned to their home base at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana in Virginia Beach
Flight logs revealed as many as six mystery aircraft swarmed the warships close to a sensitive training area at the Channel Islands at speeds of up to 40mph and with a greater maneuverability than US military drones.
When asked directly if the Navy had confirmed the identity of the drones at a media event, Gilday responded: ‘No, we have not.’
The Drive revealed in February that US Navy warships stationed off the coast of Los Angeles had encountered swarms of mysterious drones, which pursued them at high speed in low visibility.
The outlet obtained ship logbooks and internal emails from the Navy under the Freedom of Information Act, and eyewitness descriptions from the staff on board, to establish the UAVs had a far greater aeronautical capability than any previously known drones.
Former US Navy Lieutenant Ryan Graves in a F/A-18 fighter off the Virginia coast between 2015 and 2017 (leaked May 2019)
Graves’ F/A-18 fighter squadron spotted the ‘maneuverable’ spherical objects flying in restricted airspace near Virginia Beach almost every day from 2015 to 2017, he said.
‘I am worried, frankly. You know, if these were tactical jets from another country that were hanging out up there, it would be a massive issue,’ Graves told 60 Minutes.
‘But because it looks slightly different, we’re not willing to actually look at the problem in the face. We’re happy to just ignore the fact that these are out there, watching us every day.’
He said pilots for the U.S. Navy saw UFOs off the coast of Virginia so frequently they got used to them despite them ‘watching us’ every day
Graves’ F/A-18 fighter squadron spotted the ‘maneuverable’ objects flying in restricted airspace near Virginia Beach almost every day from 2015 to 2017
He said that pilots who have witnessed what the government calls ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’ have speculated that they might be anything from a secret U.S. technology to an enemy spy plane.
Graves also conceded the aircraft could be something else entirely.
‘This is a difficult one to explain. You have rotation, you have high altitudes. You have propulsion, right? I don’t know. I don’t know what it is, frankly,’ Graves told 60 Minutes while viewing one of the unclassified videos.
‘I would say, you know, the highest probability is it’s a threat observation program.’
A color image shows one of the unidentified aerial phenomena. Their technical capabilities far exceed that of any known aircraft, sparking fears for US national security
Pilots have speculated that they might be anything from a secret U.S. technology to an enemy spy plane
The outlet noted that Graves did not rule out the possibility they could be some sort of Russian or Chinese technology.
Luis Elizondo, a former official with the Defense Department, told 60 Minutes that the UAPs appear to have ‘far superior’ technology to anything the United States currently has in its known inventory.
‘Imagine a technology that can do 600 to 700 G-forces, that can fly 13,000 miles an hour, that, that can evade radar and can fly through air and water and possibly space,’ Elizondo said.
‘And oh, by the way, has no obvious signs of propulsion, no wings, no control surfaces and yet still can defy the natural effects of Earth’s gravity. That’s precisely what we’re seeing.’
Pyramid shaped objects spotted by hovering above the USS Russell, July 2019 (footage leaked April 2021)
Footage filmed around the same time as the spherical ball sighting – but released two months earlier – showed multiple pyramid-shaped objects hovering around 700 feet above the USS Russell Navy Destroyer.
It is also believed to have been filmed off the southern California coast, although it is unclear why Mystery Wire leaked this sighting before the sphere.
The April photos were leaked from a Pentagon investigation of UFOs by the UAP Task Force, which has been gathering evidence for a report for Congress that’s due in June, according to Mystery Wire.
The image show unidentified objects flying above four US destroyers, including the USS Kidd Navy destroyer.
The outlet had also previously released video reportedly taken in July 2019 by naval officers using a night vision device, which showed pyramid shaped objects hovering 700 feet above a Navy destroyer
Mystery Wire says the triangular objects are part of the same incident as the spherical object diving into the sea
The video was taken in July 2019 by naval officers using a night vision device
US Navy pilot made visual contact with tic-tac shaped object on November 14, 2004 (first leaked online in 2007, confirmed by The New York Times in 2019)
At least six Super Hornet pilots made visual or instrument contact with the tic-tac shaped UFO on November 14, 2004.
The encounters, which are documented in numerous interviews with first-hand witnesses, remain a mystery, and the object’s incredible speed and movements have led to speculation that it was extraterrestrial in origin.
The original FLIR video from the USS Nimitz encounters leaked online as early as 2007, and have been credited with sparking subsequent leaks about military sightings – as well as fevered interest from UFOlogists.
Witnesses say that clips of the video had been circulated widely on the Navy’s intranet – used to communicate between ships in the carrier group – and an unknown sailor in the group likely first leaked it.
The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea in formation during a Strait of Hormuz transit on September 18, 2020
Navy Commander David Fravor and Lieutenant Commander Jim Slaight had been flying about 100 miles off the coast of San Diego (pictured) in each of their F/A-18F Super Hornets (pictured) when they encountered an unidentified flying object described as a ‘Tic Tac’
The USS Nimitz, a US Navy aircraft carrier, was at the center of a bizarre UFO sighting saga in 2004.
The clip became one of the most-touted pieces of evidence in the UFO community when the Pentagon confirmed its authenticity in 2017.
In January, Chad Underwood, the former Navy aviator who shot the famous leaked video clip, broke his silence in an interview with New York Magazine.
He said the oblong, wingless ‘Tic Tac’ shaped object was spotted off the coast of Mexico over the Pacific.
He also revealed that for about two weeks, the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Princeton, part of Carrier Strike Group 11, had been tracking mysterious aircraft intermittently on an advanced AN/SPY-1B passive radar.
The radar contacts were so inexplicable that the system was even shut down and restarted to to check for bugs – but operators continued to track the unknown aircraft.
Then on November 14, Commander David Fravor says he was flying in an F/A-18F Super Hornet when he made visual contact with the object, which seemed to dive below the water, resurface, and speed out of sight when he tried to approach it.
As Fravor landed on the deck of the Nimitz, Underwood was just gearing up to take off on his own training run.
Fravor told Underwood about the bizarre encounter, and urged Underwood to keep his eyes open.
He recalls how he suddenly saw a blip on his radar before tracking it on his FLIR camera.
‘The thing that stood out to me the most was how erratic it was behaving,’ Underwood told the magazine.
‘And what I mean by ‘erratic’ is that its changes in altitude, air speed, and aspect were just unlike things that I’ve ever encountered before flying against other air targets.’
Underwood said the object wasn’t obeying the laws of physics and dropped from 50,000 feet altitude to 100 feet in seconds, which he says, ‘isn’t possible’. He added that he saw no signs of an engine heat plume or any sign of propulsion.
The pilot refuses to speculate as to whether the object is an alien spacecraft or not, however.
‘That’s not my job. But I saw something. And it was also seen, via eyeballs, by both my commanding officer, Dave Fravor, and the Marine Corps Hornet squadron commanding officer who was out there as well.’