In a year and a half, the U.S. military recorded more than 247 sightings of what they call unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) and what many more call unidentified flying objects or UFOs. The 247 sightings in that span of time indicate that reported UFO encounters are increasing.
On Thursday, the Pentagon’s All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) — the special office for investigating the true causes behind UFO sightings — published a report with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) compiling their UFO findings from March 2021 until August 2022. That report states that AARO has recorded 247 UAP (or UFO) encounters in the approximately 18 months between its initial assessment period in March of 2021 and August of 2022.
The 247 encounters in 18 months represents a significant increase in recorded sightings than have been reported in the past.
AARO was formed in July of 2022. AARO is a successor to the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF). UAPTF conducted an initial assessment period, compiling all UFO encounters between November 2004 to March 2021. The organization recorded 144 UFO encounters in that 16-and-a-half-year time span and another 119 encounters from that time span that were disclosed after the initial assessment period, for a total of 263 encounters in under 17 years.
The average number of UFO encounters within the initial assessment period was about 16 per year, compared to an average of 164.6 sightings per year between March 2021 and August 2022.
The tenfold increase in reported UFO sightings doesn’t necessarily mean UFOs are more common. The increased number of UFO reports could indicate that U.S. military personnel are more comfortable coming forward about the strange things they’ve seen.
“AARO and ODNI assess that the observed increase in the UAP reporting rate is partially due to a better understanding of the possible threats that UAP may represent, either as safety of flight hazards or as potential adversary collection platforms, and partially due to reduced stigma surrounding UAP reporting.”
An August 2022 congressional report states that many UFOs remain unidentifiable and not all are “man-made.”
A potential advantage of this increase in reported UFO sightings is that it may give AARO researchers more opportunities to analyze and identify different UFOs as explainable phenomena.
“This increased reporting allows more opportunities to apply rigorous analysis and resolve events,” the AARO report states.
Still, a significant percentage of the UFO sightings remain a mystery.
AARO’s report details a total of 510 UFO sightings from November 2004 to August 2022. AARO analyzed 366 of these 510 sightings. Of the 366 UFO sightings analyzed, 26 where charactized as likely drones, 163 were described as “balloons or balloon-like entities” and six were described as airborne “clutter.” AARO has not yet been able to offer a potential explanation for the remaining 177 UFO sightings in their sample.