The USS Nimitz UFO Incident 2004

The USS Nimitz UFO incident was a radar-visual encounter of an unidentified flying object by US fighter pilots of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group in 2004. The encounter also included an engagement with the UFO by the commander of Strike Fighter Squadron 41, and his weapon systems officer.

The primary encounter occurred during a combat training exercise being conducted in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California on 14 November 2004, with purportedly related sightings occurring in the days before and after this encounter. A 2015 account of the incident on FighterSweep.com, interviews with one of the pilots, and subsequent news reports describe the sighting of an "unidentified flying object" by six Navy Super Hornet fighter jets.

Thirteen years after the incident, in December 2017, infrared footage of the encounter was released to the public. According to The Washington Post, the video was released by former intelligence officer Luis Elizondo to shed light on a secretive Department of Defense operation to analyze reported UFO sightings, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.

Numerous Freedom of Information Act requests were submitted regarding the incident. There was a FOIA obtained that indicated four Marine Lieutenant Colonels, and a Marine Major were aware of the event and had witnessed the IR video of the unknown object. A number of documents were leaked to the Internet, with varying levels of credibility. Acceleration values for the performance characteristics of the object were based upon statements from the USS Princeton radar operators, the F/A-18 pilots that saw the object disappear within a second, and the IR video. The Navy has since reportedly updated their protocols for pilots to report UFO sightings in an effort to reduce the stigma associated with such reports.

Skeptics have called into question the veracity of the pilots' accounts, pointing out that the sighting might be explained by equipment malfunction or human error.

One of the witnesses, retired United States Navy officer, Commander David Fravor, lamented the amount "of misinformation that [was] starting to come out through third and fourth parties" during a June 2018 interview. 11:58 On 17 September 2019, the U.S. Navy acknowledged that the three UFO videos are of real unidentified phenomena.

Encounter

Prior to the incident, in early November 2004, the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Princeton, part of Carrier Strike Group 11, had been tracking mysterious aircraft intermittently for two weeks on an advanced AN/SPY-1B passive radar. Navy Chief Petty Officer (NCO, E-7) Kevin Day, stationed on Princeton, recalls that he first noticed the clear radar traces of eight to ten objects around 10 November.

They were travelling southwards in a loose though fixed formation at 28,000 feet (8,500 m) in the immediate vicinity of Catalina and San Clemente islands. He was startled by their slow speed of 100 knots (190 km/h; 120 mph), but received confirmation of their presence from radar operators on other vessels.

Regular observations were made of a similar number of objects over the following six days. The objects were also faintly detected by an E-2C Hawkeye plane after Princeton sent them coordinates.

Visual sighting

When the same event occurred again around 9:30 PST on 14 November 2004, an operations officer aboard Princeton contacted two airborne U.S. Navy Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets from USS Nimitz, flying a combat exercise at the time. The aircraft were two-seat variants, and each pilot was accompanied by a weapon systems officer (WSO). The lead Super Hornet was piloted by Commander David Fravor, commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 41. The second fighter, flying as wingman, included Lieutenant Commander Jim Slaight as one of the two officers aboard.

Princeton's radio operator, Kevin Day, directly instructed the pilots to change their course and investigate the unidentified radar spot observed by Princeton's own radar. This was done to determine if the objects posed any collision danger to an upcoming air defense exercise. A radio operator on Princeton, however, asked the pilots if they were carrying operational weapons, to which the pilots replied that they were not. The weather conditions for that day showed excellent visibility with a blue sky, no cloud cover, and a calm sea.

When the jet fighters arrived on site, the crew of four saw nothing in the air nor on their radar. On Princeton's radar however, it was noticed that the object had now dropped from 28,000 feet to near sea level in less than a second. As the pilots looked down at the sea, they noticed a turbulent oval area of churning water with foam and frothy waves "the size of a Boeing 737 airplane" with a smoother area of lighter color at the center, as if the waves were breaking over something just under the surface. A few seconds later, they noticed an unusual object hovering with erratic movements about 50 feet (15 m) above the churning water. Both Fravor and Slaight later described the object as a large bright white Tic Tac, 30 to 46 feet (9.1 to 14.0 m) long, with no windshield nor porthole, no wing nor empennage, and no visible engine nor exhaust plume.

Fravor began a circular descent to approach the object. As Fravor further descended, he reported that the object began ascending along a curved path, maintaining some distance from the F-18, mirroring its trajectory in opposite circles. Fravor then made a more aggressive maneuver, plunging his fighter to aim below the object, but at this point the UFO accelerated and went out of sight in less than two seconds, leaving the pilots "pretty weirded out".

Subsequently, the two fighter jets began a new course to the combat air patrol (CAP) rendezvous point. "Within seconds" Princeton radioed the jets that the radar target had reappeared 60 miles (97 km) away at this predetermined rendezvous point. According to Popular Mechanics, a physical object would have had to move greater than 2,400 miles per hour (3,900 km/h) to cover that distance in the reported time. Two other jets went to investigate the new radar location, but "By the time the Super Hornets arrived [...] the object had already disappeared." Both F-18s then returned to Nimitz. Commander Fravor reflected on his sighting: "I have no idea what I saw. It had no plumes, wings or rotors and outran our F-18s. But I want to fly one".

Infrared footage

After the return of the first team to Nimitz, a second team took off at approximately 12:00 PST, this time equipped with an advanced infrared camera (FLIR pod). This camera recorded an evasive unidentified aerial system on video. The footage was publicly released by the Pentagon more than 13 years later, on 16 December 2017, alongside the revelation of the funding of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.

This footage is known as the 2004 USS Nimitz FLIR1 video. It officially shed some light on a decade-old story that had been largely unknown and unreported, aside from a 2015 secondhand story on FighterSweep.com that, in spite of providing many details, remained unconfirmed at that time. A second film of infrared footage, known as the GIMBAL video, was released by the Pentagon alongside the 2004 FLIR1 footage. Although the media often present the two videos together to illustrate the 2004 USS Nimitz UFO incident, the GIMBAL video is unrelated, and was filmed on the East Coast of the United States at an unknown date.

In May 2019, journalists from Las Vegas station KLAS 10 determined that the videos were indeed released by the Pentagon, and not by any private individuals or organizations.

Fighters were approximately 100 miles from the coast of San Diego when they were directed to intercept the UFO 100 miles from San Diego County coast 100 miles from San Diego coast.

An unclassified and redacted summary of the event released by the US military

One of the pilots from the video on the Joe Rogan show talking about his experience in detail.

The USS Nimitz American Battleship

The Actual footage of the UAP caught on camera by the US Figther Jets

The USS Nimitz UFO incident was a radar-visual encounter of an unidentified flying object by US fighter pilots of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group in 2004. The encounter also included an engagement with the UFO by the commander of Strike Fighter Squadron 41, and his weapon systems officer.

The primary encounter occurred during a combat training exercise being conducted in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California on 14 November 2004, with purportedly related sightings occurring in the days before and after this encounter. A 2015 account of the incident on FighterSweep.com, interviews with one of the pilots, and subsequent news reports describe the sighting of an "unidentified flying object" by six Navy Super Hornet fighter jets.

Thirteen years after the incident, in December 2017, infrared footage of the encounter was released to the public. According to The Washington Post, the video was released by former intelligence officer Luis Elizondo to shed light on a secretive Department of Defense operation to analyze reported UFO sightings, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.

Numerous Freedom of Information Act requests were submitted regarding the incident. There was an FOIA obtained that indicated four Marine Lieutenant Colonels and a Marine Major were aware of the event and had witnessed the IR video of the unknown object. A number of documents were leaked to the Internet, with varying levels of credibility. Acceleration values for the performance characteristics of the object were based upon statements from the USS Princeton radar operators, the F/A-18 pilots that saw the object disappear within a second, and the IR video. The Navy has since reportedly updated their protocols for pilots to report UFO sightings in an effort to reduce the stigma associated with such reports.

Fighters were approximately 100 miles from the coast of San Diego when they were directed to intercept the UFO 100 miles from San Diego County coast 100 miles from San Diego coast.

Skeptics have called into question the veracity of the pilots' accounts, pointing out that the sighting might be explained by equipment malfunction or human error. One of the witnesses, retired United States Navy officer, Commander David Fravor, lamented the amount "of misinformation that [was] starting to come out through third and fourth parties" during a June 2018 interview. 11:58 On 17 September 2019, the U.S. Navy acknowledged that the three UFO videos are of real unidentified phenomena.

Encounter

Prior to the incident, in early November 2004, the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Princeton, part of Carrier Strike Group 11, had been tracking mysterious aircraft intermittently for two weeks on an advanced AN/SPY-1B passive radar. Navy Chief Petty Officer (NCO, E-7) Kevin Day, stationed on Princeton, recalls that he first noticed the clear radar traces of eight to ten objects around 10 November. They were travelling southwards in a loose though fixed formation at 28,000 feet (8,500 m) in the immediate vicinity of Catalina and San Clemente islands. He was startled by their slow speed of 100 knots (190 km/h; 120 mph), but received confirmation of their presence from radar operators on other vessels. Regular observations were made of a similar number of objects over the following six days. The objects were also faintly detected by an E-2C Hawkeye plane after Princeton sent them coordinates.

Commander David Fravor on the Joge Rogan show discussing his encounter in detail.

Visual sighting

When the same event occurred again around 9:30 PST on 14 November 2004, an operations officer aboard Princeton contacted two airborne U.S. Navy Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets from USS Nimitz, flying a combat exercise at the time. The aircraft were two-seat variants, and each pilot was accompanied by a weapon systems officer (WSO). The lead Super Hornet was piloted by Commander David Fravor, commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 41. The second fighter, flying as wingman, included Lieutenant Commander Jim Slaight as one of the two officers aboard.

Princeton's radio operator, Kevin Day, directly instructed the pilots to change their course and investigate the unidentified radar spot observed by Princeton's own radar. This was done to determine if the objects posed any collision danger to an upcoming air defense exercise. A radio operator on Princeton, however, asked the pilots if they were carrying operational weapons, to which the pilots replied that they were not. The weather conditions for that day showed excellent visibility with a blue sky, no cloud cover, and a calm sea.

When the jet fighters arrived on site, the crew of four saw nothing in the air nor on their radar. On Princeton's radar however, it was noticed that the object had now dropped from 28,000 feet to near sea level in less than a second. As the pilots looked down at the sea, they noticed a turbulent oval area of churning water with foam and frothy waves "the size of a Boeing 737 airplane" with a smoother area of lighter color at the center, as if the waves were breaking over something just under the surface. A few seconds later, they noticed an unusual object hovering with erratic movements about 50 feet (15 m) above the churning water. Both Fravor and Slaight later described the object as a large bright white Tic Tac, 30 to 46 feet (9.1 to 14.0 m) long, with no windshield nor porthole, no wing nor empennage, and no visible engine nor exhaust plume.

Fravor began a circular descent to approach the object. As Fravor further descended, he reported that the object began ascending along a curved path, maintaining some distance from the F-18, mirroring its trajectory in opposite circles. Fravor then made a more aggressive maneuver, plunging his fighter to aim below the object, but at this point the UFO accelerated and went out of sight in less than two seconds, leaving the pilots "pretty weirded out".

Subsequently, the two fighter jets began a new course to the combat air patrol (CAP) rendezvous point. "Within seconds" Princeton radioed the jets that the radar target had reappeared 60 miles (97 km) away at this predetermined rendezvous point. According to Popular Mechanics, a physical object would have had to move greater than 2,400 miles per hour (3,900 km/h) to cover that distance in the reported time. Two other jets went to investigate the new radar location, but "By the time the Super Hornets arrived [...] the object had already disappeared." Both F-18s then returned to Nimitz. Commander Fravor reflected on his sighting: "I have no idea what I saw. It had no plumes, wings or rotors and outran our F-18s. But I want to fly one".

Infrared footage

After the return of the first team to Nimitz, a second team took off at approximately 12:00 PST, this time equipped with an advanced infrared camera (FLIR pod). This camera recorded an evasive unidentified aerial system on video. The footage was publicly released by the Pentagon more than 13 years later, on 16 December 2017, alongside the revelation of the funding of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.

This footage is known as the 2004 USS Nimitz FLIR1 video. It officially shed some light on a decade-old story that had been largely unknown and unreported, aside from a 2015 secondhand story on FighterSweep.com that, in spite of providing many details, remained unconfirmed at that time. A second film of infrared footage, known as the GIMBAL video, was released by the Pentagon alongside the 2004 FLIR1 footage. Although the media often present the two videos together to illustrate the 2004 USS Nimitz UFO incident, the GIMBAL video is unrelated, and was filmed on the East Coast of the United States at an unknown date.

In May 2019, journalists from Las Vegas station KLAS 10 determined that the videos were indeed released by the Pentagon, and not by any private individuals or organizations.

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