- A government report on UFO sightings by government sources, including military pilots, is out.
- A task force investigated 144 reports of UFO sightings collected since 2004.
- Only one of these sightings has been explained with confidence.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The US government recently investigated 144 reports of unidentified-flying-object sightings since 2004, and only one has been explained with confidence, a highly anticipated report released Friday disclosed.
An unclassified report prepared by the US intelligence community and the Department of Defense on unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAP, as the government refers to them, said that of the 144 reports, 80 involved observation by multiple sensors.
The government said the episodes could vary from birds and atmospheric phenomena like ice crystals to experimental vehicles and hypersonic weapons being developed by the US and foreign powers. But it held out the possibility that some of the sightings showing the most unusual flight patterns and activity could be something else entirely.
While the reports of UAP sightings date back to 2004, most of the reports came in the past two years because of changes in the reporting process within the military.
In 18 incidents detailed in 21 UAP reports, observers said the object in question moved or flew in unusual ways, such as moving at high speed without any detectable means of propulsion.
“We are conducting further analysis to determine if breakthrough technologies were demonstrated,” the report said.
The report, which focused largely on incidents in which military aviators witnessed a UAP firsthand or the UAP was observed by reliable systems, said that in a majority of the cases, the UAP interrupted training and other military activities.
“Incursions into our training ranges and designated airspace pose safety of flight and operations security concerns, and may pose national security challenges,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Friday.
“DOD takes reports of incursions – by any aerial object, identified or unidentified – very seriously, and investigates each one,” he added.
The government report said there probably was not a single explanation for all the reported UAP sightings.
“The UAP documented in this limited dataset demonstrate an array of aerial behaviors, reinforcing the possibility there are multiple types of UAP requiring different explanations,” it said.
There is limited data and sometimes inconsistency in reporting, but analysis of these incidents suggests that if and when these UAPs are explained, they will fall into one of five categories, namely “airborne clutter, natural atmospheric phenomena, USG or industry developmental programs, foreign adversary systems, and a catchall ‘other’ bin,” according to the report.
A senior US official who spoke with CNN and other reporters said that “of the 144 reports we are dealing with here, we have no clear indications that there is any non-terrestrial explanation for them – but we will go wherever the data takes us.”
In many ways, the report, which was expected for months, raised more questions than it answered.
Kirby said that “the report submitted today highlights the challenges associated with assessing UAP occurring on or near DOD training ranges and installations.” That said, there is a plan to continue investigating them, he added.