By now you’ve probably read the New York Times article detailing a UFO research program run by the Pentagon which received $22 million — a tiny amount by Defense Department standards — from 2007 to at least 2012. The disclosure of the program is the biggest such reveal since Project Blue Book of the 1950s and 1960s and the French government’s 1999 COMETA Report.
If that wasn’t strange enough, the article included declassified footage from a U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter’s AN/ASQ-228 sensor display as it trailed a still-unidentified flying object over the Pacific near San Diego on Nov. 14, 2004.
In the footage, the Super Hornet pilot, while traveling at 252 knots at nearly 20,000 feet, switched between his display’s infrared and visual modes as the sensor tried to lock onto the blurry, oblong or pill-shaped object. The flying object appeared white in IR mode, and black in TV mode — indicating that whatever it was, the sensor had picked up on the object’s emission, temperature or reflection.
The video comes from the same incident when Cmdr. David Fravor, a veteran Navy pilot assigned to the USS Nimitz carrier fighter squadron VFA-41 Black Aces, was on a training mission off San Diego. “It was a real object, it exists and I saw it,” Fravor told the Washington Post. Telling the paper that he believes it was “not from the Earth.”
During an exercise, commanders ordered Fravor to intercept an object that was appearing at 80,000 feet — above the range of Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Princeton’s SPY-1 air-search radar — before dropping suddenly to 20,000 feet. “Officials told they had been tracking a couple dozen of these objects for a few weeks,” the paper reported.
The story that followed has circulated in the military aviation world and fighter community for several years, including this write-up by former Navy F-14A Tomcat pilot Paco Chierici at Fighter Sweep. With orders to intercept the object, Fravor in his jet — callsign FASTEAGLE 01 — headed toward with aid from an E-2 Hawkeye early warning and control plane.
Read more: national interest