Wednesday, April 03, 2019

A “UFO science redux” – the SCU Nimitz report: “A Forensic Analysis of Navy Carrier Strike Group Eleven’s Encounter with an Anomalous Aerial Vehicle”

Thanks to Robert Powell of the SCU – the Scientific Coalition for Ufology – which advocates “scientific Inquiry of UFOs, USOs and UAPs” – I have had an opportunity to review SCU’s excellent study of the popularly called Nimitz encounters that occurred in 2004. I highly recommend the SCU study which can now be read in full on their site at:
along with some of SCU’s interviews with key witnesses Kevin Day, Jason Turner and Gary Voorhis. 
The report - “A Forensic Analysis of Navy Carrier Strike Group Eleven’s Encounter with an Anomalous Aerial Vehicle” is authored by Robert Powell, Peter Reali, Tim Thompson, Morgan Beall, Doug Kimzey, Larry Cates, and Richard Hoffman.  
Its format is an excellent template for future case studies – namely that of a peer reviewed scientific report with detailed referencing, documentation and extensive appendices backing up the content of core 21-page report.  Given that the total document is 270 pages long the SCU Nimitz report will serve as a foundational reference point for the debate, discussion and further research. 
The abstract of the report highlights the strengths and limitations of this case study but also notes that further study of this case would be enhanced by access to further the military data that is out there, yet to be revealed in the public domain.
The abstract:
"On November 14th of 2004, the U.S. Navy's Carrier Strike Group Eleven (CSG 11), including the USS Nimitz nuclear aircraft carrier and the USS Princeton missile cruiser, were conducting a training exercise off the coast of southern California when the Navy's radar systems detected as many as 20 anomalous aerial vehicles (AAV). These AAV's were deemed a safety hazard to an upcoming air exercise and the Captain of the USS Princeton ordered an interception with two F/A-18F Navy jets. This paper examines the publicly available subset of those data: Eyewitness information from the pilots and radar operators; Freedom of Information Act releases of four Navy documents; and a Defense Intelligence Agency released video taken by an F/A-18 jet using an AN/ASQ-228 Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared (ATFLIR). Analytical calculations based on radar notes, testimony from pilots, and the ATFLIR video are used to derive the velocity, acceleration and estimated power demonstrated by the AAV maneuvers. Calculated AAV accelerations ranged from 40 g-forces to hundreds of g-forces and estimated power based on a weight of one ton ranged from one to nine gigawatts. None of the navy witnesses reported ever previously seen military or civilian vehicles with these maneuvering abilities. Manned aircraft such as the F-22 and F-35 are limited to nine g-forces and the F-35 has maintained structural integrity up to 13.5 g-forces. Our results suggest that given the available information the AAV's capabilities are beyond any known technology. The public release of all navy records associated with this incident to enable a full, scientific and open investigation is strongly recommended." 
The core of the report is covered by its introduction, data, analysis, discussion & conclusions. The Appendices reveal a wealth of data – glossary, FOIA Requests and replies (Robert Powell was at this long before the case was made famous by the “breakthrough” New Times story of December 2017, indeed the SCU investigation began in the latter part of 2016), documents referenced, advanced target forward looking infrared radar (FLIR), video provenance, background information on Carrier Strike Group Eleven, acceleration, speed & power calculations based on radar observations, calculations of size, distance & angular size, acceleration, speed, & power calculations based on blind point distance, acceleration, speed & power calculations based on FLIR video, a video analysis, and witness & associated information.  Given that the report is based on limited information gleaned from witness information, statements, limited documents and what seems a lower quality version of the FLIR video released, so much more seems possible if more of the military data and the clearer version of the video becomes available. Witnesses refer to seeing a clear version and confiscation of hard drive data from the aircraft involved in the encounters. 
The wider extent of the encounters is documented, such as the following: “PettyOfficer Voorhis was in charge of the Aegis computer suite’sCooperative Engagement Capability system. He recalls that withintwelve hours of the AAV event a helicopter landed on board. He wasapproached by non-uniformed personnel who asked him to relinquishall of the CEC information including radar data, electronicsinformation, data recordings, communications—everything that was notrequired for the ship’s operation and navigation. He requested their IDbut this was refused. He told the men that the Captain’s permission would be required and subsequently the Petty Officer received orders from the Captain to relinquish the information to the gentlemen and he did so. He turned over all the information which was stored on magnetic tapes. He also erased all other magnetic tapes that were backups. Petty Officer Voorhis stated, As far as my Captain was concerned, you do everything they say period; or you go to jail.” 
Page 10 of the report has a very helpful reconstruction in visual form of Commander Fravor’s engagement with the so-called “TIC-TAC”
and on page 9 is reconstruction of its shape and appearance. 
The conclusions of the core report seem well sustained by the limited data examined:
“In three separate instances we have calculated acceleration rates based on testimonies of military witnesses with years of experience and knowledge related to military aircraft characteristics and capabilities. These witnesses include two United States Naval Academy graduates, one with the rank of commander and the other a lieutenant commander.The accelerations demonstrated by the AAVs are beyond the capabilities of any known aircraft in the public domain. We do not know the origin of the AAVs nor do we have any information on their means of propulsion. We do believe that sufficient information has been provided in this paper to justify the release of all information related to this incident so that a complete scientific investigation can be conducted.”  
The totality of the report represents an important focus of further research on the case. It is hoped that the report, which has already been circulated to select members of the US Congress, might lead to a more detailed release of data on this case and others, thus allowing for an even better analysis.
“To the Stars Academy” (TTSA), which has former AATIP director Luis Elizondo and key scientist Dr. Hal Puthoff as part of their group, have yet to openly publish a strong scientifically orientated report on the Nimitz affair.  I am impressed with a lot of the players within TTSA but transparency and detailed documentation release don’t seem to be key features of their activities to date.  I hope that soon changes and more comes from them beyond the intriguing collaboration with the History Channel – “Unidentified: Inside America’s Investigation.”   Robert Powell told me, “My (NIMITZ) investigation proceeded the TTSA but I don't believe that it proceeded the work that Luis and Hal did as part of AATIP. Both of them were at our SCU conference and were impressed with the work that we have done." But what of the "science" in TTSA.  While TTSA, Luis Elizondo and Hal Puthoff have made some fascinating contributions to this field, openly available detailed documentation and data would enhance their contributions so much more.  I look forward to what may emerge. 
I applaud the efforts of SCU to bring about an environment of intelligent, forceful and open research and discussion in this controversial area. Their Nimitz report is the kind of careful, scientific and peer reviewed report that will help legitimise the UFO/UAP/AAV subject as having scientific merit.  
The SCU analysis argues for technology beyond ours, based on publicly available data.  I note it also make an appeal for DOD/government release of data.
I hope that some day soon that data availability and transparency and open scientific dialogue and research becomes the norm rather than the exception.

I have been a long time advocate of a “serious open (UFO) science.”  In my 1996 book “The OZ Files – the Australian UFO story” I concluded:
Throughout this book you have seen glimpses of “something”.  No doubt some are misinterpretations or insoluble misidentifications of prosaic or unusual known phenomena.  Never-the-less, there are many events here that are the stuff of apparently genuine “unknowns”.  For example 1954 - Nowra, 1959 - Boianai, and 1980 - Rosedale.   The difficulty is that much of this material has been uncovered in a less than satisfactory way.  This has been the remarkable legacy of both amateur researchers and forbidden science. The UFO phenomenon is still waiting to see the transition to serious open science.
“What is needed is unfettered, substantial funding to do good science, not well intentioned limited science that emerges from limited funding and part time committment.  All to often we have a litany of lost opportunities, that have gone begging, due to the lack of resources and an absence of focused scientific and multidisciplinary research.  From time to time through the smokescreen of political and bureaucratic compromises, in both official and civilian efforts, we have seen glimpses of what might have been. 
“For now I wait, buoyed by the extraordinary dimensions of the UFO phenomenon, which this history has revealed to you.  Given what has passed before us, I hope we do not give up the chance to properly confront and understand a fascinating and important mystery.  A lot of Australians have already faced that mystery in a personal way.  It is time we take up the challenge.” 
I have continued with that focus through my UFO research and investigations to this day. My 2005 book “Hair of the Alien” provided a potential DNA template that could be pursued.  I examined the Peter Khoury case from that perspective and put forward an “alien DNA paradigm” hypothesis – controversial I know, but still it was an attempt to do a little science in an extremely controversial area. 
In 2012 I began writing a column for the bi-monthly Australian Ufologist magazine entitled “Science and the UFO controversy” and continued with it until the magazine ceased publishing in early 2018.   
Many important key touchstones were described in that 6-year focus, some of which I also described on my blogs:
"Signposts on the long road to a UFO science" which covered (the July 2014 Paris CAIPAN/GEIPAN workshop) Jacques Vallee stated: "This is really a dream come true for many of us." 
In seems to me that the SCU report “A Forensic Analysis of Navy Carrier Strike Group Eleven’s Encounter with an Anomalous Aerial Vehicle” is yet another robust and welcome “signpost on the long road to a UFO science.”  I welcome it and other contributions that follow.