(sciencealert) By PETER DOCKRILL - A series of newly surfaced images and videos of unidentified flying objects filmed by the US Navy have now been confirmed as authentic by the Pentagon.
While many in the public generally refer to such mysterious sightings as UFOs, the more modern term used in defense circles is 'Unidentified Aerial Phenomena' (UAPs) – and they're something the intelligence community takes very seriously.
While UFOs are a stigmatized topic – associated with conspiracy theories and intertwined with pop culture – the fact remains that UAPs, sometimes also called Anomalous Aerial Vehicles (AAVs), are nonetheless very real, representing documented sightings of phenomena that neither the military nor scientific observers can easily identify.
The newly surfaced sightings, sourced by filmmaker Jeremy Corbell and reporter George Knapp, include footage of a mysterious "pyramid-shaped" craft observed flying through the sky, along with images of three other strange objects, one of which appears to have been shared online last year.
"I can confirm that the referenced photos and videos were taken by Navy personnel," Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough said in a statement distributed to numerous media outlets.
"The UAPTF [Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force] has included these incidents in their ongoing examinations."
But while the Pentagon corroborates the authenticity of the imagery, the US Department of Defense (DOD) hasn't clarified anything further than that, remaining tight-lipped about what, if anything, their investigations of these strange objects might have upturned.
"As we have said before, to maintain operations security and to avoid disclosing information that may be useful to potential adversaries, DOD does not discuss publicly the details of either the observations or the examinations of reported incursions into our training ranges or designated airspace, including those incursions initially designated as UAP," Gough said.
May 1st 2020 a classified briefing was generated about the UFO / UAP presence via the Office of Naval Intelligence. I was able to obtain information regarding these & other UAP related briefings - as well as - unclassified slides & some intriguing military captured UAP footage. pic.twitter.com/F6V9h64Qfs— Jeremy Corbell (@JeremyCorbell) April 8, 2021
In the briefings, one reported sighting details observations of a "pyramid-shaped" (Corbell's term) craft, filmed by crew of the USS Russell off the coast of San Diego in July 2019.
While video of the incident only clearly shows one such triangular-looking object, said to be hovering about 210 meters (700 ft) above the vessel, an account of the episode describes three purported unidentified vehicles flying in a swarm over the ship.
In another sighting, a spherical vehicle of some kind was observed by crew aboard the USS Omaha, flying into the ocean and disappearing in the water. The UAPTF documentation suggests the craft was thought to have sunk, but a subsequent search of the area by submarine revealed no wreckage.
A series of other sightings, all recorded on the same day in March 2019 by an F-18 weapon systems officer using his iPhone's camera, reveal three UAPs seen near Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia
The objects, all of which look dissimilar, have come to be known as the 'Sphere', the 'Acorn', and the 'Metallic Blimp', and while some have speculated they could be weather balloons or foreign spy drones, as far as we know, they remain unidentified and are still considered to be UAPs.
Not that the Pentagon confirms that. When pressed by intelligence website The Black Vault as to whether these UAPs were still categorized as unidentified, Gough only offered: "I have nothing further for you beyond what I provided."
While there are still many questions about these strange unidentified phenomena, the newly leaked information does at least provide more evidence that the DOD continues to investigate and treat UAPs as a serious subject.
Corbell, along with others in the intelligence community, hope that by sharing this information, it will further bolster rational and transparent investigations of these mysterious objects.
"Recent UAP interactions have been put in our path with purpose, and should be looked upon as advantageous opportunities for future research," a senior intelligence officer familiar with the recent UAP briefings told Corbell.
"With every incursion, overflight and potential midair - it has never been more prudent to investigate this UAP phenomenon and deglamorize the UFO stigma through the ranks."