The U.S. government is still unable to provide information on 143 instances of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP), according to a highly-anticipated preliminary report released on Friday.
In its nine-page filing, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence expanded on the progress that the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, established last year to study UFOs, has made to better understand these anomalous events that have been dubbed a “potential threat.”
“Various forms of sensors that register UAP generally operate correctly and capture enough real data to allow initial assessments, but some UAP may be attributable to sensor anomalies,” the report said.
The unclassified document studied U.S. Government reporting of incidents occurring from November 2004 to March 2021. Out of 144 instances of government-recorded UAPs, only one was able to be identified “with high confidence” as a “large, deflating balloon.” Most reports described these cases as “objects that interrupted pre-planned training or other military activity.”
According to the report, most of the UAPs were likely “physical objects given that a majority of UAP were registered across multiple sensors, to include radar, infrared, electro-optical, weapon seekers, and visual observation.” However, the government noted that in a limited number of incidents, the UAP is said to have exhibited “unusual flight characteristics,” making identifying them more difficult.
“These observations could be the result of sensor errors, spoofing, or observer misperception and require additional rigorous analysis.”
Based on the data available, the government said that there are likely multiple types of UAP that require different explanations. It added that based on the analysis, it is likely that these UAPs will fall into one of five explanatory categories: airborne clutter, natural atmospheric phenomena, U.S. government or U.S. industry developmental programs, foreign adversary systems and a mysterious catch-all bin labeled “other.”
“Limited data and inconsistency in reporting are key challenges to evaluating UAP,” the report said, calling for better data collection and reporting across the federal government. No standardized UAP reporting mechanism existed before the Navy established one in March 2019. The report also noted “sociocultural stigmas and sensor limitations” as reasons why more UAP reports have not been properly vetted.
Additionally, the report said that UAP “clearly pose a safety of flight issue and may pose a challenge to U.S. national security.”
“Safety concerns primarily center on aviators contending with an increasingly cluttered air domain,” it explained. “UAP would also represent a national security challenge if they are foreign adversary collection platforms or provide evidence a potential adversary has developed either a breakthrough or disruptive technology.”
There were some similarities regarding the “shape, size, and, particularly, propulsion” of some reported UAPs, and it was noted that UAP sightings tended to cluster around U.S. training and testing grounds. But in 18 reported cases, observers noted unusual UAP movement patterns or flight characteristics.
“Some UAP appeared to remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly, or move at considerable speed, without discernable means of propulsion. In a small number of cases, military aircraft systems processed radio frequency (RF) energy associated with UAP sightings.”
In April, the Pentagon confirmed that a leaked video of a UAP that recently surfaced is legitimate.