Following the revelations sequence of weird encounters between Navy pilots and UFOs had occurred off the east coast of the USA from 2014 to early 2015, The Conflict Zone set out in the hunt for any attainable rationalization for at the very least a few of these incidents that do not contain improbable origins or extraordinarily superior expertise. Over the past month, we’ve got recognized one chance, particularly, that’s value mentioning. As a substitute of anti-gravitational propulsion or flying machines from area, this chance—and that’s all it’s, a chance—has to do with specifically designed radar reflector balloons and submarines, in addition to a historic precedent for an obscure operational digital intelligence gathering idea that first got here to be throughout one of many hottest moments of the Chilly Conflict.
The outline given of objects concerned in quite a few shut UFO encounters with Navy pilots off America’s japanese seaboard throughout the 2014-2015 timeframe is akin to a ‘beachball’ or orb with a dice suspended inside it with the dice’s corners touching or almost touching its edges. This sounds amazingly weird and is extra paying homage to what we might anticipate from a sci-fi film circa the 1980s than the traditional flying saucer and even the big ‘Tic Tac’ that Navy pilots encountered again in 2004, however to me, it additionally sounded eerily acquainted.
Once I considered spherical orbs with cubes inside them, balloons and radar reflector units got here instantly to thoughts. I started hashing out this chance with my colleague Joseph Trevithick shortly after the studies got here to mild. The fact is that conventional high-altitude balloons and radar reflectors already go hand-in-hand.
As a result of a high-altitude balloon does not have a lot, if any, of a radar cross-section, metallic radar reflectors, which are available in quite a lot of geometric shapes, are strung beneath its gasoline envelope, thus offering a radar return in order that it may be tracked. The mixture can look fairly weird in and of itself and they’re cumbersome and clumsy preparations. However could not this be simplified for extra conducive deployment and higher aerodynamics by simply suspending the reflector contained in the balloon itself? The same association is used for radar reflectors that float on the water or are strung up on ships, however what about one which has to journey by the ambiance?
Simply as I believed, a solution to that query has already been proposed. After looking out sporadically over a lot of days for what I envisioned in my thoughts, I discovered simply that in U.S. Patent #2,463,517, titled “Airborne Nook Reflector.”
The patent was filed approach again in 1945 and was granted in 1949. It’s alarmingly related in look to what the pilots had reported seeing a number of occasions over the Atlantic Ocean. In reality, a close to miss encounter with one in every of these objects as described by Navy Tremendous Hornet pilot Ryan Graves states that the item was possible standing nonetheless, floating within the air, when the Tremendous Hornet blasted by at a too shut for consolation distance. In different phrases, it wasn’t making any excessive efficiency maneuvers whereas inside visible vary. As a substitute, it was performing like, nicely, a balloon.
Hear Ryan Graves describe the encounter in a clip from Historical past Channel’s To The Stars Academy-helmed present Unidentified:
Different statements from Graves and a squadronmate have pointed to the truth that these objects can keep within the air for a lot of hours at a time. It is a attribute additionally possessed by a balloon of some kind. Even the perceived menace from a collision with one of many objects and the Navy’s lack of curiosity in coping with it on the time would not be as stunning as it’s now in the event that they had been certainly balloons. Climate balloons and different high-altitude balloons are launched into the skies each day and fly amongst airliners with out the flexibility to trace or keep away from them. You may learn extra about this actuality right here.
Getting again to the patent in query, it reads partly:
“Whereas the invention is of paramount significance in ascending balloon assemblies, it might be utilized in mounted installations corresponding to can be utilized for navigation. Within the former case, the load of a rain-soaked or ladened reflector provides to the drag of separate items and within the latter case the safety to the reflector afforded by the balloon multiplies its life a number of occasions. Higher wind velocities, i. e., at elevations of from 30,000 to 40,000 yards, heretofore unobtainable, could also be recorded by use of the current invention. With prior units such readings couldn’t be obtained as a result of these heights weren’t attained by the balloon and unit or at the very least not whereas it remained in recording vary. As can be understood, the balloon is product of electrically non-conducting materials. The machine being collapsible might be packed into small area.
The elasticity of the helps and/or the reflector unit itself gives for the standard enlargement of the ascending balloon. The unit doesn’t minimize off the balloon into remoted sections and accordingly it might be stuffed with gasoline by a single port. I choose to seal the balloon after the reflector unit is secured in place. The seal could also be a separate piece as illustrated, or might embody the consumption port. A typical balloon can be about six (6) toes in diameter, though a such [sic] smaller or bigger one could also be used. The factors of the reflector surfaces are joined by rubber bands, as by spot vulcanization. The usage of rubber bands or elastic reflector surfaces is to permit for the standard enlargement of a rubber balloon because it attains nice top with the ensuing low atmospheric stress…”
What’s most fascinating is the way it describes the flexibility to be packed right into a small area. With the ability to launch one thing identical to this in a pre-packaged, all-up canister from a submarine—particularly a submerged one—can be extremely useful. At this time, submarines can launch canisters to the floor that deploy small aerial drones and it’s even attainable that balloons might be launched from very shallow depths with out the usage of a canister of any sort. Regardless, there’s truly a historic precedent for clandestine operations the place submarines launched balloons carrying radar reflectors as a part of intelligence gathering operations.
Paperwork launched by the Central Intelligence Company describe submarine-launched balloon exams that had been carried out by the CIA and the USAF as far again in 1955. By 1963, submarines had been executing complicated, high-stakes, and secretive operations to gauge the skills of enemy air protection techniques by launching radar reflector-toting balloons. Within the superior e book Lockheed Blackbird: Past the Secret Missions, one in every of these missions is described in exceptional and extremely related element.
The A-12 Oxcart—the CIA’s precursor to the USAF legendary SR-71 Blackbird—possessed excessive pace and the primary stealthy options ever deliberately deployed on an operational fight plane. However low-observable (stealth) design was in its infancy and the Skunk Works and the CIA wanted a solution to actually gauge simply how survivable the A-12 can be in opposition to the newest and best Soviet radar techniques. The remainder is historical past:
“In the course of the Cuban Missile Disaster, the US intelligence group had monitored the development of a minimum of 19 SA-2 SAM websites on the island and these supplied the CIA, along with Oxcart [the codename for the A-12 spy plane program] planners, a perfect alternative to find out the sensitivity of its related radar receiver.
One evening, a US Navy destroyer geared up with a Palladium transmitter positioned itself past the detection vary of a Soviet “Tall King” A-band early warning radar located close to Havana. With its antenna protruding simply above the horizon the destroyer produced a sign that seemed to be emanating from a US fighter out of Key West, making a high-speed sprint in direction of the capital, Havana.
At a predetermined time, a US Navy submarine surfaced close to Havana Bay, simply lengthy sufficient to time-releases a sequence of balloons carrying radar reflectors of various sizes. The concept was that having detected the ‘plane’, the Soviets would swap on SA-2 goal monitoring radars in preparation for participating the goal. Launch of the balloons forward of the ‘goal’ would produce a lot of returns, of which the smallest reported would current the best degree of radar sensitivity.
The operation labored like clockwork. Cuban interceptors had been additionally scrambled to search out the ‘intruder’, and when one in every of their pilots advised his floor managed intercept (GCI) controller that he had acquired the ‘goal’ on his radar, the technician on the destroyer flicked a swap and the ‘US fighter’ disappeared.
After analyzing the intelligence information collected from this operation and by different means, the CIA’s concluded that Soviet radar functionality would certainly be capable of monitor and ‘lock on’ to an Oxcart, regardless of the plane’s radar attenuating design options.
Regardless of these discouraging findings, flight check continued.”
It’s unclear if the profitable espionage techniques used on this operation grew to become extra commonplace in a while as enemy air protection techniques grew extra complicated and succesful. It could be unusual to think about that it would not have, however the world of submarine warfare is a darkish and murky area that’s shrouded in excessive secrecy.
Quick ahead to right this moment and fashionable submarines have extremely superior digital intelligence gathering capabilities—it is a main mission set that’s typically ignored or misunderstood by the general public. On the identical time, they do not actually have a solution to stimulate enemy air defenses organically so as to report these emissions and even communications that associate with them with out surfacing, and even that’s speculative and based mostly on what we all know concerning the 1963 operation. With the ability to deploy balloons with numerous sized radar reflectors whereas submerged might be a comparatively low tech, however extremely efficient approach of doing this. By sneaking in or close to enemy territory, releasing these units below the best climate circumstances, and elevating their low-observable digital intelligence gathering masts, they might theoretically enhance the standard of the intelligence gathered remarkably.
As well as, submarines might deploy these air defenses-stimulating balloons inside enemy territory throughout operations which are executed in cooperation with different belongings. These might embody strategic surveillance plane working at standoff ranges, or stealthy reconnaissance plane working at nearer ranges, both of which might higher soak-up radar emissions and communications from an enemy’s air protection community over a broad space. Leveraging space-based capabilities can be one other chance. The submarine’s potential to take action is extra localized as it’s restricted by the gap to the horizon in relation to its digital intelligence gathering mast’s top, at the very least in terms of detecting land and surface-based air defense-related emissions. Underneath this idea, the submarine would simply be a supply system for the airborne reflectors and will keep most stealth always.
Regardless, it’s attainable that the mission that occurred in 1963 in help of the CIA’s A-12 program was a progenitor of extra mature capabilities which are in existence right this moment, or perhaps the tactic has been just lately borrowed out of the intel group’s historic playbook. Testing how delicate an enemy’s air protection capabilities truly are, not to mention what the precise ‘digital fingerprints’ are of its particular person elements and cataloging their geolocations, is much extra vital now than it was in 1963. Such intelligence can be extraordinarily helpful, particularly in an age of stealth expertise the place understanding precisely what your foe’s digital order of battle is and what their built-in air protection system’s strengths and weaknesses are at any given time is totally key for the complicated mission planning that permits belongings to efficiently penetrate enemy airspace and survive to do it once more the following day.
Paired with fashionable supplies science, one can think about simply how simply deployable and efficient these balloons might be right this moment. Radar reflector geared up balloons which are able to being clandestinely launched from beneath the waves might additionally work in tandem with different related balloons that carry small expendable digital warfare payloads aloft as a substitute of radar reflectors. These would confuse stimulated enemy radars much more and will probably produce a number of ghost radar returns that exhibit excessive efficiency on a radar operator’s scopes. In different phrases, the big formations as described by radar operators in a few of these encounters might be a mixture of digital warfare and radar reflector payload-carrying balloons. Such a functionality might be used throughout a time of solution to distract the enemy in addition to for intelligence gathering.
In reality, throughout the Nimitz incident in 2004, a bunch of targets appeared on radar over the Channel Islands and progressed south in direction of the service group on the pace of a Cessna, however at excessive altitudes, with a few of these targets shortly dropping to sea degree right away earlier than capturing again up. Not too long ago, I appeared right into a chaff cloud that originated from this precise locale and progressed to the identical precise space the place the Nimitz was working at a pace of round 100-110 knots. The found the excessive velocity was because of the jetstream that was positioned instantly overhead and pulling the mysterious cloud alongside at a formidable clip. The identical might have been the case for a gaggle of balloons launched throughout the Nimitz Service Strike Group’s coaching again in 2004.
As well as, the targets that appeared throughout the Nimitz encounters actively jammed the radars of fighter plane. As soon as once more, this may occasionally have been an digital countermeasures payload on a few of these units.
With this in thoughts, is it attainable that what Nimitz Service Strike Group radar operators noticed was a bunch of radar reflector and/or digital warfare payload-carrying balloons? It appears at the very least value contemplating, particularly contemplating the choice explanations.
Clearly, this does not clarify the Tic Tac encounter with Tremendous Hornet pilots in any approach, however they might be mutually unique occasions or had been a part of a coordinated occasion of some sort to check a number of clandestine applied sciences in opposition to the easiest air protection capabilities on the planet on the time.
Whatever the Nimitz occasion, a hypothetical image is rising of what might be an especially helpful categorised ecosystem of capabilities and techniques that might be employed to actively mine essential data on air protection techniques positioned in an enemy’s personal yard and even distract the identical enemy’s air defenses throughout a time of conflict. And here is the catch—such a functionality might not belong to the U.S. alone, and even in any respect, at the very least in present occasions.
It might belong to an adversary who wants a solution to accumulate essential intelligence on American radar techniques in areas that their most succesful techniques frequent for coaching. That is notably related in terms of observing a service strike group throughout spin-up operations earlier than deployment and particularly these which are packing new superior air protection , which was each the case throughout the Tic Tac incident in 2004 and a number of the encounters in 2014-2015. You may learn extra about this peculiar similarity on this previous unique of ours.
Diving deeper into our patent search, we found one other balloon idea that was way more superior—one that would be capable of be actively managed and make abrupt maneuvers.
U.S. Patent #7341224B1, which was filed in 2004 and awarded in 2008, describes a Miniature Robotic Surveillance Balloon that has thrusters to manage its flightpath and may carry an electrical-powered payload aloft.
The patent reads partly:
A miniature surveillance balloon system is described that can be utilized in army and public security conditions for real-time observations. They’re low-cost and expendable, and usually are deployed in clusters. Balloons might act individually or alternately clusters might act robotically (in unison) with out command enter at occasions. Balloon techniques could also be deployed by dropping from plane or by some type of artillery or rocket launch mechanism.
In some elective embodiments, balloons might have thruster mechanisms to facilitate lateral motion. Balloons can also be used individually or in clusters as a weapons system.
Generally, the balloon system could also be inspired to journey within the vertical path by releasing gasoline from the bag to descend and by both injecting gasoline from the compressed gasoline cylinder and/or jettisoning weight to ascend. The balloon system might optionally embody some type of directional thrusters to permit it to journey in a particular horizontal path and/or journey in a vertical path at a charge quicker than the results of carry and weight would permit. Thrusters could also be supplied by strong rocket propellant, or alternately by miniature engines that burn hydrogen gasoline from the bag or from the gasoline cylinder.
The patent for the swarming balloons goes on to explain its gasoline cell, data-link, and different elements which are fairly fascinating.
We do not know if one thing like this was ever truly developed, however it’s one other good reminder that considerably unique purposes for older technological ideas might lead to capabilities that appear alien at first look. And actually, that’s the fantastic thing about these balloon ideas, they’ve a canopy story built-in—they would seem considerably out of this world to even a skilled observer. Throw in an LED mild and you’re speaking about one thing that may look extraordinarily unusual, particularly to a fighter pilot shifting previous it at excessive pace. Its small dimension would additionally make it onerous to identify within the first place and relying on its radar reflector configuration, it might exhibit a extremely variable radar cross-section.
If anything, a submarine-launched balloon system designed to catalyze clandestine digital intelligence gathering is a remarkably artistic, however obscure idea that existed almost 60 years in the past. Does it clarify each side of each element of each incident Navy personnel have described during the last 15 years? No. However nothing else does with out leaping to some extraordinarily reality-warping conclusions. On the identical time, as I’ve pressured repeatedly, it’s fully attainable, if not possible, that there is not a monolithic reply to the UFO query and that a number of truths exist relating to the subject as an entire and even relating to the person instances which are making headlines right this moment.
Ultimately, we’ve got to take a look at each single chance and consider every one in every of them with an open thoughts. I promised my readers that I might dig as deep as attainable to seek out any potential current technological solutions that would tackle even components of what highly-trained and credible witnesses are seeing, no matter what or whose narrative it might match. At the moment, with out going into the well-established and admittedly, at this level, nonetheless related theories that embody authorities cover-ups of world-changing applied sciences and even craft visiting the Earth from different worlds, that is the closest I’ve come to a legitimate reply.
And sure, I do notice that even implying that what individuals describe as unexplained objects might be ‘balloons’ is very inconvenient contemplating the stigma surrounding that rationalization. However on this case, that does not make it any much less worthy of examination contemplating we aren’t speaking about some backyard selection climate balloons right here and there can be an actual cause for any army energy to maintain such a functionality secret. The truth that there’s an precise precedent for using the same idea secretly throughout the Chilly Conflict additionally provides vital weight to the likelihood.
Ultimately, that is all that is, a chance. One in every of a quantity to mull over as all of us proceed on what has turn into an more and more historic and weird quest for the reality.
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Contact the creator: Tyler@thedrive.com