Late last year, the Pentagon was forced to admit that they have been secretly funding a program that aimed to investigate military reports of unidentified flying objects, or as the Defense Department refers to them, AAVs — Anomalous Aerial Vehicles. The program, given the clunky title of “The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program,” was led by Luis Elizondo, a former military intelligence officer, until October when he resigned in protest, citing his concerns about the threats possibly posed by these unidentified aircraft and the lack of resources being allocated to their investigation.
According to one report released by the Defense Department following this revelation, the Nimitz class’ namesake carrier and its accompanying strike group tracked intermittent radar signatures from these unusual crafts repeatedly between November 10th and November 16th of 2004. These radar signatures, which were all recorded from the waters off the coast of the Baja Peninsula of Southern California, seemed to show multiple crafts dropping from altitudes of 60,000 feet down to just feet above the water in a matter of seconds, where they would hover for a time before darting off in other directions.
After spotting these anomalies repeatedly for days, the Nimitz redirected a pair of F/1-18Fs to intercept and investigate one such radar signature as they returned from a routine training operation. The pilots reported visual contact with the craft from a distance of about one mile, according to the report. They described it as “an elongated ‘Tic Tac’ shape with a discernible midline horizontal axis.” The craft was “solid white, smooth, with no edges,” and they went on to report that it was “uniformly colored with no nacelles, pylons or wings.”
The report goes on to state that the pilots were not able to obtain a radar lock on the craft for weapon’s purposes, though they were able to track the craft on radar whenever it was stationary or traveling at lower speeds. The pilots reported that the aircraft did not assume an aggressive posture as they approached. It did, however, respond to their presence. According to the account of Commander David “Sex” Fravor, the lead pilot of the intercept whose name was redacted from the released report, the craft “appeared to recognize” him as he attempted to close the gap between them, first taking evasive action and the darting away at a speed Fravor described as “supersonic.”
More troubling, the nearby USS Princeton, a Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser that was managing the intercept via comms picked up the radar signature of the unidentified craft as it slowed down once again — it had traveled to the grid coordinates the Hornets had been conducting training operations in prior to being diverted to intercept.
That was not the only reported incident involving unusual craft and American fighters during that time.
Listen to Commander David “Sex” Fravor, the lead pilot on one of those intercepts, describe what happened below:
Feature image courtesy of the U.S. Navy