New reports have revealed more details of the encounters that US Navy pilots have had with “unidentified aerial phenomena” off the east coast of the United States. The incidents came under the spotlight when the Pentagon officially released three short videos showing showing unidentified flying objects last month.
Now, seven hazard reports acquired by military news website The Drive under the Freedom of Information Act detail run-ins with UFOs that occurred between 2013 and 2014 in a patch of airspace known as W-72 warning area. The eighth report details an encounter that took place years later in 2019.
The reports are all marked “Unclassified” and “For Official Use Only”.
The first report, dated June 27, 2013, said that Strike Fighter Squadron 11 spotted an aircraft that was “white in color and approximately the size and shape of a drone or missile.” It left a visible exhaust trail.
Another report describing an encounter from March 26, 2014, said: “The unknown aircraft appeared to be small in size, approximately the size of a suitcase, and silver in color.” The pilot was able to pass within 1,000 feet of it but could not identify it, said the report, adding that the unknown aircraft was detected in an exclusive use area, which could present a safety concern.
“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,” one of the authors of the report said in their comments.
A report of the most recent encounter, which occurred on February 13, 2019, said that the crew of a warfare aircraft spotted “a red weather balloon” at 27,000 feet.
According to CNN, the newly-released reports describe many of the unidentified aircraft as “Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS),” which is the Pentagon’s official name for drone aircraft. The news outlet obtained the documents on Wednesday.
“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 said.
In April, the Pentagon officially released three videos that show what appear to be unidentified flying objects recorded by infrared cameras. According to CBS News, US President Donald Trump reacted to the footage by calling it “a hell of a video”.