In a report published by The New York Times, six pilots stationed on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt detected in mid-flight several objects flying at hypersonic speeds at altitudes of up to 30,000 feet. According to the pilots, not only did these mysterious UFOs not have any visible means of propulsion such as engines, they also did not have any infrared exhaust plumes.
The six pilots said they usually encountered the said UFOs during flights along the southeastern coast of the US, extending from Virginia to Florida.
Despite their mysterious nature, however, none of the pilots interviewed in the Times story suggested that the UFOs were extraterrestrial in origin -- echoing statements by experts who say “Earthly explanations” such as bugs in the imaging and display systems’ codes, as well as atmospheric effects and reflections, are the most probable cause of the said incidents.
Leon Golub of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told the Times that the possibility of an extraterrestrial cause “is so unlikely that it competes with many other low-probability but more mundane explanations.”
Lt. Danny Accoin, one of the Navy pilots who reported UFO sightings beginning in 2014, said that he encountered UFOs twice, noting that while his plane’s tracking equipment, infrared cameras and radar were able to detect the objects both times, he was unable to capture them on his helmet camera.
Could it have been a false positive? Unlikely, Accoin said, noting that while it is possible to flag similar incidents as a false alarm, it’s a different situation altogether when multiple sensors pick up on the same thing.
"...when you start to get multiple sensors reading the exact same thing, and then you get to see a display, that solidifies it for me," Accoin said. (Related: F-18 fighter plane captures stunning UFO on video… government admits UFO research is real.)
Lt. Ryan Graves, an F-18 pilot for the US Navy, said a “squadron” of UFOs followed his Navy strike group up and down the eastern coast of the US in 2014. The incident went on for months, according to the 10-year veteran.
Graves said that the pilots only started to notice the objects after their 1980s-era radar was upgraded to a more advanced system, noting that as one fighter jet after another got the upgrades, more pilots began picking up on the objects, which at first they thought were “false radar tracks.”
Graves and the other pilots only took the objects seriously when the latter kept showing up at different altitudes. Moreover, Graves noted that the objects could accelerate, slow down and then hit hypersonic speeds.
“These things would be out there all day,” Graves, who has since reported his sightings to the Pentagon and Congress, said. “Keeping an aircraft in the air requires a significant amount of energy. With the speeds we observed, 12 hours in the air is 11 hours longer than we’d expect,” he added.
According to Graves, the pilots who spotted the UFOs started speculating among themselves that the mysterious objects may have belonged to a highly classified drone program.
Graves and others, according to former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Christopher Mellon, are now speaking out because what they saw “raised concerns for them about their comrades and national security.” Mellon made the statement during an interview with the History Channel, which has produced a documentary series on the incidents.
The US Navy has since issued official guidelines regarding UFO investigation, following the recent spate of sightings and the recent online leak of videos showing confirmed UFO activity. However, according to Joe Gradisher, a spokesman for the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, the results of the investigations will not be made public.