Over a year after videos were released showing the public what appeared to be footage of UFOs captured by Navy pilots who exchanged astonished commentary, a Navy official has reportedly released a statement confirming that the videos do in fact depict “unexplained aerial phenomena.”
In December 2017 and March 2018, the New York Times published videos unearthed by To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science (TTSAAS), a fringe science research group founded by former Blink-182 member Tom DeLonge. The videos purported to show declassified Pentagon footage of unidentified flying objects. The first videos were featured in a Times report about the Department of Defense operating a secret military program that researched unidentified aerial phenomena as recently as 2012.
TTSAAS wrote in a blog post that the most recently released video was filmed from a F/A-18 Super Hornet in 2015. As the post states, the “object has no distinguishable flight surfaces or exhaust plume, and its flight seems to defy the known laws of physics.”
At the time, a Pentagon spokesperson told Gizmodo that the Department of Defense would not provide comment on the footage.
In August John Greenwald, an independent researcher who runs The Black Vault, which hosts declassified government documents, requested information from the Navy about the three videos, titled “FLIR1,” “Gimbal,” and “Go Fast”
In a response published on The Black Vault earlier this month, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare spokesperson Joseph Gradisher told Greenwald, “The Navy designates the objects contained in these videos as unidentified aerial phenomena.”
Greenwald inquired about the Navy’s use of the phrase “unidentified aerial phenomena” rather than “unidentified flying object” and Gradisher reportedly explained, “The ‘Unidentified Aerial Phenomena’ terminology is used because it provides the basic descriptor for the sightings/observations of unauthorized/unidentified aircraft/objects that have been observed entering/operating in the airspace of various military-controlled training ranges.”
The U.S. Navy Office of Information did not immediately respond to our request for comment for this story. For a follow-up story on The Black Vault’s reporting, Motherboard obtained an additional statement on the videos. Gradisher told Motherboard “the Navy considers the phenomena contained/depicted in those 3 videos as unidentified.”
Greenwald told Motherboard the use of the term “unidentified aerial phenomena” is significant because he expected the Navy would describe the objects as “balloons” or “drones”—language the Pentagon has used in previously released official documents. “However, they did not. They went on the record stating the ‘phenomena’ depicted in those videos, is ‘unidentified,’” Greenwald told Motherboard. “That really made me surprised, intrigued, excited and motivated to push harder for the truth.”
In April, the Navy announced it was drafting new guidelines for how service members should report unidentified aerial phenomena. The initiative reportedly aimed to streamline the process of documenting strange sightings and experiences.