A growing number of Navy pilots claiming to have spotted unidentified flying objects, or UFOS, has led the Navy to update its protocol for reporting them, according to a New York Times report.
In 2007, the Pentagon began a shadowy program called “Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.” It intended to study radar data, video footage captured by pilots and accounts of senior officers who reported seeing UFOs. The program officially ended in 2012 amid dried-up funds, but the Navy has continued investigations of military reports of UFOs, the report said.
Reports of UFO sightings occurred almost daily between 2014 and 2015 in the East Coast. Navy pilots reported seeing flying objects that had no visible engine or exhaust plumes but could read hypersonic speeds. One Super Hornet pilot in late 2014 said he had a near collision with a UFO, The Times reported.
Lt. Ryan Graves, who has been with the Navy for 10 years, told The Times: “These things would be out there all day. Keeping an aircraft in the air requires a significant amount of energy. With the speeds we observed, 12 hours in the air is 11 hours longer than we’d expect.”
Experts, however, caution against extraterrestrial explanations. Senior astrophysicist Leon Golub, who was quoted by The Times, said “there are so many other possibilities – bugs in the code for the imaging and display systems, atmospheric effects and reflections, neurological overload from multiple inputs during high-speed flight.”
Earlier this year, the Navy issued new classified guidelines on how to report such instances “in response to unknown, advanced aircraft flying into or near Navy strike groups or other sensitive military facilities and formations.”