The reports, obtained by The Drive and published on Tuesday, share eight instances when Navy pilots encountered unidentified aircraft in the 2010s. Several of the reports provide details about how the Navy pilots encountered what looked like unmanned drones or missiles, while others involved encounters with much smaller flying objects.
Each of the eight incidents occurred in the Eastern United States, off the coasts of Virginia and North Carolina. All but one of the eight incidents occurred between 2013 and 2014. The last incident occurred in 2019.
The release of these incident reports follows the Navy's release of three unclassified videos showing Navy pilot encounters with “unidentified aerial phenomena,” as they are more widely known in official parlance, between 2004 and 2015. None of the videos released show any of the incidents cited in the reports. (Related: Will the U.S. Navy release the full video of their 2004 UFO encounter off the coast of Mexico?)
In a June 2013 report, a Navy pilot mentioned seeing an aircraft that was white, without any marking and approximately “the size of a drone or missile.” Another incident from November of the same year mentioned a pilot seeing an object that had a wingspan of approximately five feet and was also colored with without any distinguishable marking or features. A December 2013 report mentioned a pilot seeing a “small white visual return” when he was sent to investigate a certain location.
The March 2014 report had a pilot describing seeing a small metallic-looking object that he believed was “approximately the size of a suitcase.” The pilot got within 1,000 feet of the object, but was still unable to determine what kind of aircraft it was.
In the last incident, which occurred in February 2019, a Navy pilot reported seeing a “red weather balloon” despite the fact that aviation authorities said that there were no active devices in the area.
All the reports pointed out that a lot of the unidentified aircraft may be drones. One report stated that, due to the small size, “the aircraft was determined to be a UAS,” or an unmanned aerial system, the Department of Defense's official name for drone aircraft.
However, even if the Navy and the Pentagon are in agreement that the unidentified aircraft are most likely drones, neither one could identify exactly who was operating the drones. This presents a serious threat to public safety and security, especially since the east coast of Virginia is restricted airspace for military training.
“I feel it may only be a matter of time before one of our F/A-18 aircraft has a mid-air collision with an unidentified UAS,” wrote one of the authors of a report.
“In many ways, [drones] pose a greater midair risk than manned aircraft. They are often less visually significant and less radar apparent than manned aircraft,” the report added.
There's also the possibility that the drones may be operated by other nations such as Russia, China, Iran or North Korea, and these drones may be sent to the United States to collect information about the military's operations and capabilities.
However, some experts believe there's also a possibility that these unidentified aircraft are being piloted by extraterrestrials.
Luis Elizondo, former head of a program run by the Pentagon to study recordings of aerial encounters, stated that the unidentified aircraft “are displaying characteristics that are not currently within the United States' inventory nor in any foreign inventory that we are aware of.”
This has made Elizondo to conclude that the Navy's encounters may be “compelling evidence” of extraterrestrial objects.