Earlier this week, The New York Times released a report that from the summer of 2014 until the March 2015 Navy pilots documented UFOs encounters up and down the East Coast on an almost daily basis.
The report states that the pilots first began noticing the objects after their 80s-era radar equipment received an upgrade. Once they got the new radar, pilots began picking up strange objects at 30,000 feet, 20,00 feet and even at sea level. The objects were tracked accelerating, slowing down, and at times reaching supersonic speeds.
At first, the pilots disregarded the readings as false radar tracks resulting from kinks in the new system. However, the reading persisted with some pilots reporting odd interactions with the objects and even visual confirmation.
Lieutenant Danny Accion, a Naval pilot who was a part of VFA-11 “Red Rippers” squadron out of Naval Air Statio Oceana, Virginia, told the New York Times about two encounters he had with the unexplained objects. During the first encounter, Lt. Accion said that he picked up an unexplained object on his radar and set his jet to match its speed and velocity. According to his instruments, he was within 1000 feet of it. He should have been able to see it with his helmet camera, but could not make visual confirmation.
Lt. Accion’s second encounter came a few days later. This time, a training missile on his jet locked onto the object, and he was able to pick it up on his infrared camera, but he still could not see it.
Lieutenant Ryan Graves, also a pilot in the “Red Rippers,” reported a harrowing near collision with one of the objects. Another pilot told Graves that he and his wingman were flying in tandem east of Virginia Beach when one of the objects flew between them. The New York Times reports, “It looked to the pilot, Lieutenant Graves said, like a sphere encasing a cube.”
Since that time, some of the incidents have been videotaped, including footage in which tracks one of the objects streaking over the ocean and exclaims, “What the [explitive] is that, man?”
None of the pilots that have gone on record would go so far as to speculate that the objects were extraterrestrial in nature, but the sightings remain a mystery with no official explanation. Experts from the Department of Defence emphasize that sightings like these often have earthly explanations, offering up the possibility of experimental drones or natural phenomena.
Whatever the explanation is, the government is taking these sightings very seriously. Sightings such as these were originally reported to the little known Advanced Aerospace threat Identification Program. This program investigated a similar siting in 2004 near San Diego.
The program was officially shut down in 2012 due to lack of funding. However, many involved with the program claim that it has continued in different forms. After the program was shut down, the Navy took over jurisdiction for investigating UFOs. Due to the rash of sitings reported from 2014-2015, the Navy recently updated its protocol for reporting aerial phenomena or unidentified flying objects.
Both Lieutenant Graves and Lieutenant Accoin will appear in a six-part History Channel series, “Unidentified: Inside America’s U.F.O. Investigation,” which begins this Friday, May 31.