A pilot with the US Navy almost collided with an unidentified flying object during a mission near Virginia Beach in late 2014, according to a New York Times report published on Sunday. The UFO, which the Super Hornet pilot said resembled a "sphere encasing a cube", was one of many "strange objects" reportedly seen by Navy pilots in the skies over the East Coast between the summer of 2014 and early 2015.
Pilots said they reported these inexplicable sightings to Navy leadership.
The flying objects "had no visible engine or infrared exhaust plumes, but they could reach 30,000 feet and hypersonic speeds", several pilots told the Times. The objects were seen performing manoeuvres "beyond the physical limits of a human crew" like turning instantaneously, the pilots said.
Some of the sightings described by the Times have been reported on before. A declassified military video made public last March showed two Navy pilots being caught off guard after a flying object without a wing, tail or exhaust plume crossed their path in 2015.
"Wow! What is that, man?" one of the pilots is heard saying in the clip. "Look at that flying!"
The Times' article comes a month after the announcement of the Navy's new UFO policy.
The Navy said in April that it was updating and formalising the process by which pilots can report unidentified or unauthorised flying objects. It did not believe that aliens had intruded into U.S. airspace, a Navy official told CNN at the time, but the Navy said in a statement that it had received "a number of reports of unauthorised and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years."
"These kinds on incursions can be both a security risk and pose a safety hazard for both Navy and Air Force aviation," the statement said. "For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the USAF takes these reports very seriously and investigates each and every report."
UFO sightings across the world
UFO sightings across the world
A panel of scientists concluded June 29, 1998 that science has badly neglected the area of UFOs despite numerous reports and considerable public interest. "It may be valuable to carefully evaluate UFO reports to extract information about unusual phenomena currently unknown to science," the experts, headed by Stanford University physicist Peter Sturrock, wrote in a report released Monday. This photo depicts a possible UFO sighting as reported by the Journal of Scientific Exploration. REUTERS/HO
Nevada Governor Bob Miller (C), presides over the unveiling of a new road sign for Nevada State Highway 375 on April 18 in Rachel, about 150 miles north of Las Vegas. The highway has been the location for numerous UFO sightings, possibly related to the close proximity of the secret U.S. airbase often refered to as Dreamland or Area 51
A demonstrator warning of a government conspiracy to withhold secret files on sightings of aliens in Britain holds up a leaflet outside the House of Commons October 10. There are an estimated 100 Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) groups with radio tapes, radar tapes, and video footage alledgedly documenting aliens in the country
(Original Caption) UFO spotters looking out over the Forth Valley in central Scotland where unexplained sightings are said to be frequent in Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire. (Photo by Colin McPherson/Sygma via Getty Images)
Rachel, NV, On The Extraterrestrial Highway, Highway 375, Home Of Numerous UFO Sightings And Near Area 51. (Photo By: MyLoupe/UIG Via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Bonnybridge councillor, Billy Buchanan, is campaigning for the Scottish town to be linked with Roswell in New Mexico, the site of a UFO landing in 1947, following UFO sightings in the area. (Photo by Colin McPherson/Sygma via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) This shot of an unidentified flying object over the Lawrence County Farm show grounds, is similar to descriptions of a UFO sighted over Presque Isle Peninsula near Erie, Pa. The photographer was photographing the milk can when he claims the object appeared in his photo.
Rachel, Nevada, Near Area 51, Is Famous For UFO Sightings And Alien Watchers. (Photo By: MyLoupe/UIG Via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) 5/16/1966-Hillsdale, MI- The civil defense director of Hillsdale County, MI, William Van Horn, issued a 24 page report May 16th challenging an Air Force conclusion that 'swamp gas' caused the Hillsdale UFO sightings in March 1966. Van Horn said conditions at the time were too windy for swamp gas to form and that a chemical diclosed an abnormally high amount of radiation and the element, Boron, in both the water and the soil. He also released this photo purporting show an UFO.
Astrophysicist Dr. H. Allen Hynek holds a photograph of a reported unidentified flying object. The Northwestern University professor was asked to investigate sightings by the U.S. Air Force. Dr. Hynek commented the 'flying saucer' looked more like a 'chicken feeder.'
(Original Caption) 3/21/66-Dexter,Michigan- With unidentified flying objects reportedly frequenting the southern Michigan area, curious citizens are turning out by the hundreds to scan the night sky. These area residents gathered late at the scene of a reported sighting by Dexter patrolman Robert Huniwell 3/20. The latest reported sighting was from Hinsdale Michigan, when an unidentified object was watched for several hours by Hinsdale County Civil Defense Director William Van Horn and 87 co-eds from Hinsdale College.
29th December 1953: An Unidentified Flying Object in the sky over Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia. (Photo by Barney Wayne/Keystone/Getty Images)
3rd July 1954: A soldier pointing at an unidentified oblect in the sky over London, in a Picture Post photo-fiction story about a UFO invasion. Original Publication: Picture Post - 7188 - The Threat - pub. 1954 (Photo by Kurt Hutton/Picture Post/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) 3/21/1966-Dexter, MI- On the back porch of his rented farm, Frank Mannor, 47, points out and scans the area where he sighted an unidentified object the night before. Mannor and his 19-year-old son ran into the swamp behind their house late 3/10, to watch a mysterious object hover just off the ground and then rocket off at their approach.
(L-R) Pilots E.J. Smith, Kenneth Arnold, and Ralph E. Stevens look at a photo of an unidentified flying object which they sighted while en route to Seattle, Washington.
(Original Caption) Dr. H. Allen Hynek, a Northwestern University astrophysicist, tells newsmen at a press conference here that the photograph he is holding is a time exposure of the crescent moon and the planet Venus. The photo, widely circulated in the news media, was supposedly taken by an Ann Arbor, Michigan, police officer. Dr. Hynek dismissed a Dexter, Michigan sighting of an unidentified flying object as luminous swamp gas.
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Lt. Ryan Graves, a Navy pilot who said he's seen these strange flying objects with his own eyes and has reported them to his superiors, told the Times that safety concerns were raised among members of his squadron following his colleague's close call with the UFO in 2014.
They feared that it "was going to be a matter of time before someone had a midair" collision, he said.
As the Times noted, neither Graves nor any of the pilots interviewed by the paper wanted to speculate as to the source of these flying objects. As one pilot quipped, "we're here to do a job, with excellence, not make up myths."
Some of the pilots' stories will be included in a new six-part History Channel series about the mysterious UFO program run by the Pentagon. "Unidentified: Inside America's UFO Investigation" is slated to air beginning Friday.