Tonight, the world gets its first glimpse of what To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science has been promoting for nearly two years as its new program Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation premieres on the History Channel. Ever since the 2017 disclosure of the shadowy Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program at the Pentagon, the world has learned that the U.S. Navy has encountered aerial phenomena in recent years that remain unexplained and unidentified. Some of these encounters sound far spookier than your everyday flying saucer sighting.

In the latest New York Times piece published this week, Navy pilots described encounters with cubes suspended inside spheres, giant spinning tops hovering at 30,000 feet, and incredibly fast-moving objects only visible on infrared sensors. Many of the pilots are baffled about how these objects are able to perform such incredible feats of flight while remaining in the air for over twelve hours a day. Are these visitors from afar, some sort of interdimensional entity or probe, an unknown natural phenomenon, or something stranger altogether?

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The seemingly spinning-top-shaped object in the "GIMBAL" video.

Stranger doesn’t necessarily need to imply paranormal, supernatural, or extraterrestrial. As more and more descriptions about these Navy pilots’ interactions with these objects come to light, strange coincidences and curious details are starting to emerge. Could all of these sightings and the current wave of ‘disclosures’ actually be a way for the Navy to coyly admit it possess next-generation aerospace tech?

That’s all conjecture at this point, but there are a few pieces of evidence to support such a theory. Many observers have noted how curious it is that all of the sightings described in these recent disclosures took place in highly-controlled airspace in which the U.S. Armed Forces readily conduct exercises and drills or test new technologies. Many of the sightings took place in the military airspace near Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia, while the infamous “Tic Tac” incident took place in special use airspace off the coast of California. Given that the Armed Forces regularly conduct Joint Strike Group exercises in highly-controlled waters and airspace, it seems pretty coincidental that so many high-profile encounters with unidentified aerial phenomena would occur within these spaces.

Particularly given the new technology that was being tested in these areas at the time of these sightings. In the 2004 Tic Tac sightings, the USS Nimitz supercarrier and its F/A-18F Super Hornets were testing a revolutionary new sensor fusion and data-sharing system known as Cooperative Engagement Capability technology. This system lets satellites, aircraft, and ships share real-time data gleaned from dozens of sources, enabling aircraft or other vessels to track and fire upon targets their own sensors aren’t even picking up. In a way, it’s a type of ‘hive mind’ allowing an entire Joint Strike Group to share data on the fly.

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USS Nimitz

The 2004 sightings occurred as the Navy was testing this technology for the first time and had just completed training for the new system. What better way to test a new data-sharing system than to send some kind of crazy next-generation prototype up into the air to see if the USS Nimitz and all of its high-tech assets could track it? The 2004 sightings weren't unique in this regard: in the recent New York Times story detailing incidents form 2014 and 2014, the F-A/18 pilots also described conducting exercises with the same Cooperative Engagement Capability technology in preparation for deployment when they began encountering strange objects as high as 30,000 feet in the air.

It seems like a pretty big coincidence that Navy pilots would encounter these seemingly superior aircraft while conducting drills in highly-controlled airspace while using revolutionary new sensor fusion and data-sharing technology. Could these encounters have actually been the Navy’s way of conducting real-world tests of some unknown type of new aerospace technology while keeping everyone, even their own pilots, in the dark about it? Of course, we don’t know how many other Cooperative Engagement Capability drills took place without any UFO encounters, so without other information, this is all speculative.

Still, the coincidence is glaring and has some wondering if it could have been by design. According to the most recent New York Times report, even many pilots “speculated that the objects were part of some classified and extremely advanced drone program” in the wake of these encounters. As aviation watchdog Tyler Rogoway at The War Zone points out, “it's hard to overstress just how opportune the conditions would have been for this particular [Carrier Strike Group], or elements of it, equipped with the world's best air defense capabilities to be tested against exotic and high-performance flying craft.”

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F/A-18E Super Hornet

Allegations or speculation about the U.S. military muddying the waters surrounding UFO encounters in order to conceal revolutionary, secret, or prototype technologies are nothing new and are rarely supported by evidence. In the case of the Navy’s alleged UFO encounters, there is no hard evidence surrounding these claims, but there is a deal of ‘soft’ evidence, if you will. For years, several nations and scientific institutions have claimed to have created a radical new form of propulsion using electromagnetic radiation inside resonant vacuum chambers. If ever constructed, this theoretical “EM Drive” engine could hypothetically enable aircraft to maneuver as the UFOs in the Navy pilots describe mysterious airborne objects behaving.

While the EM Drive remains a theoretical concept as far as we know, there is the strange addition of a few curious Navy patents which surfaced on the internet recently as the Navy UFO fervor has heated up. One appears to describe a polygonal craft which can “engineer the fabric of our reality at the most fundamental level” and “greatly advance the fields of aerospace propulsion and power generation.” The patent claims the inventor of this craft is a shadowy figure named Salvatore Cezar Pais, while the patent was filed by and assigned to the US Secretary of Navy. Other patents by the same Salvatore Cezar Pais/Secretary of Navy combo include a new type of room temperature superconductor which could allow for “the design and development of novel energy generation” and a “high frequency gravitational wave generator” which sounds suspiciously like the EM Drive and looks like a cube inside a sphere - the same description of an object seen by two Navy pilots in 2014 off the coast of Virginia. All of the patents were filed within the last three years.

Are these patents related to the Navy’s now-famous UFO encounters in any way? The craft they describe sure do sound eerily familiar alongside the descriptions of these recent Navy encounters. If the Navy does possess next-gen or next-next-gen aircraft, what better way to see what they can really do than to send them up in the air to toy with your best pilots, sensors, and aircraft? Are all of these recent 'disclosures' and the new History Channel series merely a way to get out in front of the story concerning radical new technologies? 

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician living in the ancient Appalachian mountains.

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