First, the study limited its scope to UAP reports between November 2004 and March 2021 from military aviators – mostly naval pilots – whom the ODNI considered reliable witnesses. Surprisingly, they found 144 such reports and only 1 of them they could explain (but added they could eliminate more sightings with more data). Eighty of these reports were supported by electronic sensors (i.e. radar, infrared), giving credence not just to the reports, but that the UAPs were real, solid objects (as opposed to illusions or storm clouds). And 18 of the UAPs demonstrated speeds or movements that could not be explained by existing technologies.
Perhaps more disquieting is that most of these sightings were around military installations or training and testing grounds. This is what we’d expect if the witnesses were military personnel. But is that the only reason? Eleven of these UAPs had near collisions with the military aircraft. Could they have been attacks? Warnings? Testing of the aircraft’s capabilities? The ODNI must have wondered that too. They warned that these UAPs were potential hazards to national security.
But 1952 wasn’t done yet. That September the U.S. and 7 other NATO nations along with New Zealand conducted a massive war-games exercise in the North Sea off Denmark and Norway. With 200 ships, 80,000 personnel, and 1,000 planes, Operation Mainbrace was the largest combined sea, land and air operation since World War II. Someone at the Pentagon joked that they should expect UFOs to show up as well. By the end of the 12 day operation, no one was laughing.
On the operation’s first day – September 13 – a Danish destroyer was just north of Borhnholm Island when Lieutenant Commander Schmidt Jensen and several fellow crewmembers observed a triangular bluish UFO as it flew by at a speed Jensen estimated to be 900 mph. A week later a British aircraft was landing at the Topcliffe airfield at Yorkshire, England, when air and ground crews observed a silver, disk-shaped object following it, swinging to and fro like a pendulum. When the aircraft circled the airfield, the object hovered, rotating on its axis. It then shot away at a speed greater than a shooting star.
On September 20, a metallic disk flew over Karup Field in Denmark at high speed. That same day the U.S. carrier Franklin D. Roosevelt was buzzed by a silver, spherical object that was photographed by reporter Wallace Litwin. His 4 photographs of what he described as a “white ping-pong ball” have never been released to the public. The next day, 6 British RAF pilots chased a shiny sphere, but could not catch it. On September 27 and 28, there were widespread UFO sightings in Germany, Denmark and Sweden. None of the sightings have been explained by anything other than the usual “it was a weather balloon.”
In his 1956 memoir The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, later to be the director of Project Blue Book, Captain Edward J. Ruppelt wrote he initially thought the governments “brush-offs” were meant to keep the public from panicking. Instead he found a combination of a lack of interest, disbelief and aversion to admitting wrong blocked his investigative efforts. Even in the face of mounting, compelling evidence, the government just wanted it to go away.