Discussions around UFO (Unidentified Flying Objects) and UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) has gained a lot of traction over the last few years. While for decades many have speculated the Government's knowledge of such incidents, small steps have been made where the Pentagon is acknowledging there are aerial phenomena out that that they can't explain. Moving away from the popular term as we know it UFO, they refer to these as UAPs. My own thoughts on this name are to distance it from a term that is highly associated with 'little green men'. While the government may admit there are things in the sky that they can't explain, they aren't going to admit off the bat they aren't of this World.
Over the last few years, we have been slowly drip-fed information with images from the Navy showing they have indeed tracked aircraft that remains unidentified. While videos had been leaked previously, in 2020, the Pentagon released 3 videos to the general public. In a statement they said
In December of 2020, a provision was signed alongside the 2021 Intelligence Authorization Act, called on the Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the heads of various pertinent agencies, to produce an “intelligence assessment of the threat posed by UAP and the progress the UAPTF (unidentified aerial phenomena task force) has made to understand this threat. The World then waited with both scepticism and bated breath for a report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence which promised to analyse and address this strange craft in the sky. While people waited with excitement, the scepticism came from a place of just exactly how much information would be divulged. It was described as an intelligence assessment as to how much of a threat such craft are from a National Security standpoint. While this was indeed addressed in the report, in terms of identifying what the craft is:
AVAILABLE REPORTING LARGELY INCONCLUSIVE
Limited Data Leaves Most UAP Unexplained…
Limited data and inconsistency in reporting are key challenges to evaluating UAP. No
standardized reporting mechanism existed until the Navy established one in March 2019. The
Air Force subsequently adopted that mechanism in November 2020, but it remains limited to
USG reporting. The UAPTF regularly heard anecdotally during its research about other
observations that occurred but which were never captured in formal or informal reporting by
After carefully considering this information, the UAPTF focused on reports that involved UAP
largely witnessed firsthand by military aviators and that were collected from systems we
considered to be reliable. These reports describe incidents that occurred between 2004 and 2021,
with the majority coming in the last two years as the new reporting mechanism became better
known to the military aviation community. We were able to identify one reported UAP with
high confidence. In that case, we identified the object as a large, deflating balloon. The others
- 144 reports originated from USG sources. Of these, 80 reports involved observation with multiple sensors.
- Most reports described UAP as objects that interrupted pre-planned training or other military activity.
But Some Potential Patterns Do Emerge
Although there was wide variability in the reports and the dataset is currently too limited to allow
for detailed trend or pattern analysis, there was some clustering of UAP observations regarding
shape, size, and, particularly, propulsion. UAP sightings also tended to cluster around U.S.
training and testing grounds, but we assess that this may result from a collection bias as a result
of focused attention, greater numbers of latest-generation sensors operating in those areas, unit
expectations, and guidance to report anomalies.
And a Handful of UAP Appear to Demonstrate Advanced Technology
In 18 incidents, described in 21 reports, observers reported unusual UAP movement patterns or
Some UAP appeared to remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver
abruptly, or move at considerable speed, without discernable means of propulsion. In a small
number of cases, military aircraft systems processed radio frequency (RF) energy associated with
The UAPTF holds a small amount of data that appear to show UAP demonstrating acceleration
or a degree of signature management. Additional rigorous analysis are necessary by multiple
teams or groups of technical experts to determine the nature and validity of these data. We are
conducting further analysis to determine if breakthrough technologies were demonstrated.
UAP PROBABLY LACK A SINGLE EXPLANATION
The UAP documented in this limited dataset demonstrate an array of aerial behaviors,
reinforcing the possibility there are multiple types of UAP requiring different explanations. Our
analysis of the data supports the construct that if and when individual UAP incidents are resolved
they will fall into one of five potential explanatory categories: airborne clutter, natural
atmospheric phenomena, USG or industry developmental programs, foreign adversary systems,
and a catchall “other” bin. With the exception of the one instance where we determined with
high confidence that the reported UAP was airborne clutter, specifically a deflating balloon, we
currently lack sufficient information in our dataset to attribute incidents to specific explanations.
Airborne Clutter: These objects include birds, balloons, recreational unmanned aerial vehicles
(UAV), or airborne debris like plastic bags that muddle a scene and affect an operator’s ability to
identify true targets, such as enemy aircraft.
Natural Atmospheric Phenomena: Natural atmospheric phenomena includes ice crystals,
moisture, and thermal fluctuations that may register on some infrared and radar systems.
USG or Industry Developmental Programs: Some UAP observations could be attributable to
developments and classified programs by U.S. entities. We were unable to confirm, however,
that these systems accounted for any of the UAP reports we collected.
Foreign Adversary Systems: Some UAP may be technologies deployed by China, Russia,
another nation, or a non-governmental entity.
Other: Although most of the UAP described in our dataset probably remain unidentified due to
limited data or challenges to collection processing or analysis, we may require additional
scientific knowledge to successfully collect on, analyze and characterize some of them. We
would group such objects in this category pending scientific advances that allowed us to better
understand them. The UAPTF intends to focus additional analysis on the small number of cases
where a UAP appeared to display unusual flight characteristics or signature management.
The report basically doesn't tell us anything we don't already know which shouldn't come as a surprise to many. The fact however that the phenomenon is even acknowledged is a huge step forward, especially from where we were even just a few years ago. The report emphasises that it gathered its findings mainly based on data provided by the US Navy.
UAP THREATEN FLIGHT SAFETY AND, POSSIBLY, NATIONAL
UAP pose a hazard to safety of flight and could pose a broader danger if some instances
represent sophisticated collection against U.S. military activities by a foreign government or
demonstrate a breakthrough aerospace technology by a potential adversary.
Ongoing Airspace Concerns
When aviators encounter safety hazards, they are required to report these concerns. Depending
on the location, volume, and behavior of hazards during incursions on ranges, pilots may cease
their tests and/or training and land their aircraft, which has a deterrent effect on reporting.
• The UAPTF has 11 reports of documented instances in which pilots reported near
misses with a UAP.
Potential National Security Challenges
We currently lack data to indicate any UAP are part of a foreign collection program or indicative
of a major technological advancement by a potential adversary. We continue to monitor for
evidence of such programs given the counter intelligence challenge they would pose, particularly
as some UAP have been detected near military facilities or by aircraft carrying the USG’s most
advanced sensor systems.
Here is a link to access the full report:
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