More than 150 encounters with unidentified aircraft across the Pacific were reported to the U.S. Navy from 2016 to 2021, according to a batch of reports revealed through the Freedom of Information Act.
The Navy released 35 redacted encounter reports and said it withheld another 116 that were classified, according to The War Zone, which filed the FOIA request.
Among other things, the reports shine new light on the 2019 swarming of a U.S. destroyer by four drones, reveal that a surveillance drone landed on another destroyer near Hong Kong, and show that an unknown quadcopter buzzed through a naval base while explosives were being handled.
Recent years have seen the U.S. open up about military reports of unidentified aerial phenomena, or UFOs by another name. Speculation has likewise raged about whether reported objects are extraterrestrial or made on Earth.
However, the new reports use neither the words UFO nor “UAP,” and the reports don’t claim the aircraft have any extraordinary capabilities, as has been alleged in other instances, The War Drive reported.
Instead, The War Drive’s analysis concludes that hostile activity is an underrated source of so-called UAP sightings, and the U.S. is “still largely playing catchup” in fending off the potential adversary drones.
One report adds new details to the more than two hours that four UASs (unmanned aerial systems) spent hovering around the USS Paul Hamilton destroyer off the coast of San Diego in 2019.
The drones twice flashed the ship’s bow and bridge with “what appeared to be a searchlight or photographic device,” the report said, in what The War Drive said is “a new piece of information.”
A 2017 report says “a quad-copter style UAS” turned off exterior lights as it approached the naval base in Bangor, Washington, home to a large stockpile of nuclear warheads. The quadcopter flew over two facilities used for equipping submarines with missiles and torpedoes while they were being used.
Also in 2017, one of four reports from in and around Hong Kong states that two drones approached the USS Chafee destroyer when it entered port.
One drone landed on the ship and was secured by personnel, who removed an SD card from it. American diplomats in Hong Kong advised the ship to hold the drone until it could be turned over to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.