Investigative journalist George Knapp has released a 13-page unclassified document detailing a series of UFO encounters that occurred between at least one unidentified craft and the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group in late 2004. This newly-revealed document adds a rich amount of detail to an encounter that was originally brought to light by the release of gun-camera footage of the encounter by the To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science, and subsequent interviews with one of the pilots responsible for intercepting one of the UFOs. The report also includes statements from the pilots and technicians involved in the sightings and intercepts.
According to a Facebook post made by investigative reporter Leslie Kean, the "Tic Tac UFO Executive Report" was produced by Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS), then under contract to the Defense Department’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), although the intended recipient has not been revealed. Kean received a copy of the same report in 2017, and confirms that it was not classified, but is, indeed, authentic. The only censoring that has been applied to the document was applied by Knapp himself, redacting the names of the personnel identified in the text to ensure their privacy, with the exception of Commander David Fravor, of whom has already spoken publicly about the encounter.
The encounters took place between 10-16 November, 2004, while the carrier group was off the California coast, preparing for deployment to the Arabian Sea. On three separate occasions, radar operators on the USS Princeton would track what the report refers to as "Anomalous Aerial Vehicles" (AAV) that "would descend "very rapidly" from approximately 60,000 feet [11.4 miles, or 18.3 kilometers] down to approximately 50 feet in a matter of seconds… They would then hover for a short time and depart at high velocities and at turn rates demonstrating an advanced acceleration (G) capability." The report points out that the ceiling for the scan volume of the Princeton’s radar system is 60,000 feet, meaning the objects originated from a higher altitude.
On 14 November, the Princeton diverted three separate flights of F/A-18 fighter jets to investigate the AAV, including one commanded by Commander David Fravor. The first flight spotted a disturbance in the water that appeared to be 50-100 meters (164-328 feet) across, that reminded the pilot of "something rapidly submerging from the surface like a submarine or ship sinking." The pilot was ordered to return to the Nimitz without having made visual contact with the object itself.
The second flight consisted of two aircraft on a training exercise, including an F/A-18 piloted by Cmdr David Fravor. The flight spotted both the disturbance in the water and the object that was apparently causing it, with Fravor describing the craft as being "like an elongated egg or a ‘Tic Tac’ and had a discernable midline horizontal axis." Fravor’s wingmate described the object as being 46 feet in length, and was "solid white, smooth, with no edges. It was uniformly colored with no nacelles, pylons, or wings." Its surface "looked like it had a candy-coated shell, almost like a white board." Fravor noted that the disturbance on the water did not look like a trail or a wake, but rather that the sea below the object "looked like frothy waves and foam almost as if the water was boiling."
As the fighters closed in on the object, the AAV appeared to respond to their approach by turning to point toward the aircraft. It then took off at supersonic speed, only to be re-acquired by the Princeton’s radar at the site of the flight’s original patrol route. After failing to re-locate the object, the flight retuned to the Nimitz.
Shortly after Fravor’s flight returned to the carrier, a third flight was launched to conduct a training patrol in the same area as the previous flight. Shortly into the exercise, they picked up an unidentified object on radar 30-40 nautical miles (35-46 miles, or 56-74 kilometers) to the south, although their target tracking systems were unable to lock onto the object. The pilots were able to record the AAV through their Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) system, although they did not spot the object visually.
The report also documents that the intelligence officers that debriefed the pilots after their encounter "didn’t take it seriously," and reports that there was a "high level of ridicule that the aircrew experienced over the next few weeks." Additionally, the USS Louisville, a Los Angeles-class submarine that was operating as part of the carrier group, observed no subsurface contacts during the encounter: either the object never entered the water, or it had the ability to make itself invisible to sonar.
This series of encounters is far from the only case of the military engaging with UFOs. "There are many, many Nimitz incidences that are equally compelling, that are told from the eyes of people like Commander Dave Fravor," said Luis Elizondo, former head of AATIP, in an interview with Knapp. His response to the debunkers that claim that the "Tic Tac" was a balloon, bird, or a technical glitch is to "let the data speak for itself. Let the information we receive from electro optical data; electro mechanical mechanisms be the tool in which we look and compare what the eyewitness testimony is saying."
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