A United States Navy spokesperson confirmed that a trio of videos released in 2017 and 2018 show unidentified flying objects, though they are opting to call them “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena,” or UAP.
“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,” said Joseph Gradisher, speaking for the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare.
Gradisher made the admission to The Black Vault, a site specializing in collecting declassified documents. His comments came just days after Tom DeLonge, the former singer and guitarist for San Diego-based band Blink-182, released previously classified videos in the run-up to a six-part documentary series on unidentified flying objects that he produced for the History Channel, called, appropriately enough, Unidentified.
His leaks were met with initial skepticism, but the U.S. Navy, through Gradisher, has now publicly confirmed for the first time that at least some of the UFO (or UAP) footage is legitimately, at the very least, unidentified and aerial:
Earlier this year, the US Navy officially changed its policy to make it easier for its personnel to report sightings of anomalous aerial vehicles due to the number of reports of “unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled training ranges and designated airspace,” Gradisher told Motherboard. “The Navy and USAF [United States Air Force] take these reports very seriously and investigate each and every report.”
Gradisher said that the safety of military personnel and the public are a top priority, and due to the number of reported UAP incidents, the Navy is taking the matter seriously. However, it has no intention to release any of this information to the public.
He added that the videos have not been cleared by the Navy for public release. However, the Pentagon declassified the footage on April 27, 2020.
“After a thorough review, the department has determined that the authorized release of these unclassified videos does not reveal any sensitive capabilities or systems, and does not impinge on any subsequent investigations of military air space incursions by unidentified aerial phenomena,” said Defense Department spokesperson Susan Gough.
Even before the Pentagon’s decision, though, the videos had circulated widely online following their released by both the New York Times and DeLonge’s research group To The Stars Academy (TTSA) between December 2017 and March 2018. The TTSA website claims, however, that the three videos — respectively known as “FLIR1,” “Gimbal,” and “GoFast” — have all “been through the official declassification review process of the United States government and has been approved for public release.”
“I very much expected that when the U.S. military addressed the videos, they would coincide with language we see on official documents that have now been released, and they would label them as ‘drones’ or ‘balloons,'” Black Vault curator John Greenwald told the tech news site Motherboard:
However, they did not. They went on the record stating the ‘phenomena’ depicted in those videos, is ‘unidentified.’ That really made me surprised, intrigued, excited and motivated to push harder for the truth.
The “FLIR1” video was first captured by Navy Commander David Fravor near San Diego, California in 2004. At that time, Fravor was piloting an FA-18 aircraft as part of a training exercise. “I think it was not from this world,” Fravor told local station KGTV-TV in 2017. “I just know it was really impressive, really fast, and I would like to fly it.”
We have contacted Gradisher and the TTSA seeking comment.
Update, April 27 2020 8:18 p.m. PST: Updated to reflect that the footage was declassified by the Pentagon.