The U.S. Navy is overseeing a new task force to investigate UFOs — or “unexplained aerial incidents” in military jargon — that have been observed on several occasions by U.S. military aircraft.
The new task force — the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF) — will report to the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security. It continues an effort begun in recent years to explain the inexplicable.
“The Department of Defense and the military departments take any incursions by unauthorized aircraft into our training ranges or designated airspace very seriously and examine each report,” the Pentagon said Friday in a press release. “This includes examinations of incursions that are initially reported as UAP (unidentified aerial phenomena) when the observer cannot immediately identify what he or she is observing.”
One of the UAP videos was shot in November 2004, and the other two were shot in January 2015. All were captured by Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet jets with pilots using Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) technology — hardware that detects heat and creates images, Space.com reported.
The three released UAP videos are called “Gimbal,” “GoFast” and “FLIR1” (also known as the “Tic Tac” video).
Two of the videos include a U.S. service member commenting on how fast the object moves while another speculates that the object could be a drone.
“Dude, this is a f–king drone, bro,” one pilot says, according to CNBC. Another says “there’s a whole fleet of them.”
“They’re all going against the wind. The wind’s 120 knots to the west. Look at that thing, dude!” the first person says. “It’s rotating!”
In June, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted that the Pentagon and intelligence community leaders should provide a public analysis of the encounters, CNBC reported.
“The Department of Defense established the UAPTF to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAPs,” the Pentagon said in the press release. “The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security … the safety of our personnel and the security of our operations are of paramount concern.”
President Donald Trump has described the U.S. Navy footage as “a hell of a video” and told Reuters that he wonders “if it’s real.”
For the Nation Of Islam, the long-held belief in UFOs is no secret. While NOI is better known for promoting Black nationalism and self-reliance, the idea of seeking the divine in the skies is deeply rooted in the Chicago-based organization. In his speeches and writing, the late leader Elijah Muhammad described a massive hovering object loaded with weapons he called “The Mother Plane”.
Capable of great destruction, The Mother Plane or wheel also contains the “wisdom to purify the planet,” Minister Louis Farrakhan said during the 2010 Saviour’s Day speech. The wheel — which he said many people call a UFO — hasn’t harmed anyone yet and there have been government attempts to cover up proof of it.
In the past, the Navy confirmed that it had top-secret files of a UFO encounter, but said at the time that sharing the information with the public “would cause exceptionally grave damage to the National Security of the United States.”
The task force’s work will remain classified but that could change if a proposal for an unclassified report on UFOs by Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s proposal is adopted by the full Senate and House of Representatives, ABC News reported.
Space.com looked to UFO experts for comment on the new Pentagon task force.
“I would hope that as much information as possible is released to the public so we can all be informed on this potentially world-shattering subject,” said Mark Rodeghier, president and scientific director of the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies in Chicago, in an Inside Outer Space interview.
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“I think those expecting big, exotic conclusions from the task force would do well to temper their expectations,” said Sarah Scoles, author of the recently published book, “They Are Already Here: UFO Culture and Why We See Saucers” (Pegasus Books, 2020). “If you look at what the official announcement actually says, it’s not quite as extraordinary as it might seem at first glance.
“It very specifically states that the DoD is concerned with boundary-crossing by objects that are — right when an observer sees them — unidentified,” Scoles continued. “It says nothing so specific about objects that remain forever unidentified and mysterious. It certainly says nothing nor implies anything about alien aircraft.”
Like all things UFO, Scoles concluded, “vague and somewhat weaselly wording leaves enough room for people to interpret this latest development very differently.'”
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