The Navy Has Officially Released the UFO Videos

The Navy Has Officially Released the UFO Videos

The U.S. Navy has officially published three famous UFO videos, which leaked several years ago. In 2019, the Navy confirmed the legitimacy of those videos—which show bizarre encounters between Navy fighter pilots and “unexplained aerial phenomena,” but said they were never intended for public release. Popular Mechanics interviewed several Navy pilots who said they saw


The U.S. Navy has officially published three videos that show UFOs are genuine, several years after the notorious clips first leaked online and properly ushered in the UFO renaissance. Last year, the Navy confirmed the three videos, taken by Navy pilots, indeed show “unexplained aerial phenomena,” but the service also said the footage should have never been released to the public in the first place.

The Navy just dropped the three videos—titled “FLIR.mp4,” “GOFAST.wmv,” and “GIMBAL.wmv”—on its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) page, a repository for documents released under the federal law that allows for the full or partial disclosure of U.S. government information to the public. The clips were first released in 2017 and 2018 by The New York Times and To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science, a UFO research group from former blink-182 member Tom DeLonge.

In November 2004, Navy fighter pilots with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group spotted a strange, Tic Tac-shaped UFO—“around 40 feet long and oval in shape”—about 100 miles off the coast of San Diego. “FLIR” shows this encounter. Then, in January 2015, an F/A-18F fighter jet off the East Coast captured additional videos using the aircraft’s onboard Raytheon AN/ASQ-228 Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) Pod. “GIMBAL” and “GOFAST” show this encounter. In the videos, air crews loudly debate what the objects are and where they came from.

“The Department of Defense [DOD] has authorized the release of three unclassified Navy videos, one taken in November 2004 and the other two in January 2015, which have been circulating in the public domain after unauthorized releases in 2007 and 2017,” Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough says in a statement.

In September 2019, the Navy admitted the clips were legitimate, and the objects shown are “unidentified aerial phenomena” (UAP), the catch-all term for the “sightings/observations of unauthorized/unidentified aircraft/objects that have been observed entering/operating in the airspace of various military-controlled training ranges,” per a spokesperson for the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare.

“After a thorough review,” Gough says, “the department has determined that the authorized release of these unclassified videos does not reveal any sensitive capabilities or systems, and does not impinge on any subsequent investigations of military air space incursions by unidentified aerial phenomena.”

Gough says DOD released the videos in order to “clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos.”

“The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as ‘unidentified,’” says Gough.

But our reporting suggests there is more to this story. In November 2019, Popular Mechanics interviewed several Nimitz witnesses, who said they saw a longer, better video of the encounter than the one released to the public. One witness, for example, told us he “definitely saw video that was roughly 8 to 10 minutes long and a lot more clear.”

Then, in January, Popular Mechanics published a follow-up feature called “The Tale of the Tape,” a thorough examination of the video’s convoluted history that shed light on exactly how the clip made its way into the mainstream. And one month later, we revealed even more secrets about The Pentagon’s Secret UFO Program.

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