Details about the Advanced Aerospace Weapons System Applications Program (AAWSAP), sometimes also referred to as AATIP, or the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, have been trickling out over the last few years, although there are contradictions and misdirections aplenty.
What we do know is that largely thanks to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, the Defense Intelligence Agency at some point was spending dozens of millions of dollars a year in order to study alleged unknown flying objects or aerial phenomena in the name of national security. We also know that Luis Elizondo, the counterintelligence officer and star of the History Channel’s somewhat controversial Unidentified series, was involved in some way, although his exact role is still unclear.
While many journalists and ufologists have pointed to the program as evidence of the U.S. government’s knowledge of extraterrestrial visitation or other high strangeness, the reality is likely more prosaic. The Defense Intelligence Agency is well aware that like the U.S., other nations are testing advanced new aerospace technologies including space-based weapons and vehicles, hypersonic technologies, radical new forms of stealth techniques, and more. AAWSAP was most likely created to determine where the U.S. stood in the race to test or deploy those technologies and weapons in the field.
Case in point: investigative reporter George Knapp has released another document (PDF download link here) that sheds light on at least some of the activities of AAWSAP. Knapp shared the document “Detection and High Resolution Tracking of Vehicles at Hypersonic Velocities” created by Dr. William Culbreth, a professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. It’s unclear when the document was written, but Knapp writes that Culbreth was “already looking at this challenge a decade ago as part of a classified Pentagon program.”
The document is one of 38 Defense Intelligence Reference Documents (DIRDs) that AASWAP produced and explores various methods that could be used to counter hypersonic objects like next-generation intercontinental ballistic missiles and space-based reentry weapons. Infrared systems, LIDAR technologies, seismography, and even infrasound detection methods are discussed in the paper as possible methods of detecting and tracking these next-generation weapons and vehicles that China, Russia, and the United States are currently developing. According to the Silva Record, the document was produced by the Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies program and submitted to AASWAP as part of a Pentagon contract Bigelow secured.
One interesting section of the document states that “technology changes in aircraft will generate the need for newer detection and tracking techniques,” and lists five categories of objects capable of hypersonic speeds: space debris, reentry craft, meteors, missiles, and hypersonic aircraft. Apparently, Culbreth's research even included stranger topics. “We looked at technology people had envisioned, that included chemical rockets, nuclear fission rockets, nuclear fusion rockets, anti-matter and even the possible use of rotating black holes in order to create propulsion systems,” Culbreth told Knapp in an interview. “All of these seemed very blue sky. Right now at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), people are putting, in little bottles, anti-matter, anti-hydrogen. And anti-matter is an extremely dense energy. So, we’re getting there.”
Ultimately, the document is far from a smoking fun of anything, but adds more context to ongoing revelations surrounding AATIP/AAWSAP and the mysterious objects detected by Navy pilots in now-infamous encounters that have attracted the attention of members the United States congress. Was this shadowy program designed solely to get out ahead of the next generation of aerospace weapons and technologies, or could there be more to the story as many observers suspect?