Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The Beauty and Terror of UFOs (UAPs, OVNIs, et al)

As the holiday season is upon us, with many of us looking for ways to fill in the days and nights to take our minds away from the travails of the global viral pandemic and other things that may be dulling thoughts of the festive period, consider the following, its homage to the era of GEPAN & at the end, details of a new French TV series you should checkout: UFOs (OVNIs) - the series is currently available on demand in Australia on SBS.  For other countries check for local availability. Best wishes.

By the end of 2022 we should have a pretty good idea of whether the new US government approved agency or unit, with the odd acronym AOIMSG, or the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group, or its forced variant, is working effectively within the remit described under the amendments developed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (Democrat – New York) and others, to the National Defense Authorization Act and passed by the US Senate. 


Senator Gillibrand’s staff summarised the state of play late in December 2021: “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena:UAPs pose a significant challenge to our national security, appearing in sensitive U.S. airspace and around military personnel. Gillibrand’s amendment establishes an office that would replace the current Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force and would have access to Department of Defense (DoD) and Intelligence Community data related to UAPs. By doing so, the office will have the authority to establish a coordinated effort to report and respond to UAPs, significantly improve data-sharing between agencies on UAP sightings, address national security concerns, and report health effects people may experience in relation to UAP events. The office will be administered jointly between the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence, and will empower military and civilian personnel working for the DoD and Intelligence Community to report incidents and information involving UAPs.” 


The US Defense Department’s UAP unit (AOIMSG) will apparently only investigate UAPs reported in sensitive military airspace, a major limiting factor. How well this works in the environment mandated by the approved act remains to be seen. The current brief of the AOIMSG will need to be broaden to met the requirements of the current legislation.  The threat scenario seems to have mobilised key people in government – the “terror of UFOs” or to use the mandated language – the “terror” of UAPs - particularly with regard to the “nuclear connection”, cited most strongly in Robert Hastings’ excellent study “UFOs and Nukes”.


The LA Times reported on 16 December, 2021, via Dillon Guthrie, an attorney and past advisor on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations:  

“The office created by the Gillibrand amendment accordingly will take a broad approach by investigating UAPs across jurisdictional lines, prioritizing areas of scientific study and requiring various agencies to collaborate — not only the Defense Department and the Federal Aviation Administration but also the Energy Department, intelligence community, NASA and others. It will develop a science plan to investigate striking physical characteristics of UAPs (like their speed) and potentially replicate any advanced UAP technologies. And the new office will seek to understand the global nature of these phenomena, directing outreach to foreign allies.

“In particular, the office will analyze whether UAPs represent foreign adversarial technology or otherwise pose a threat. That should be its top priority. The June report stated that UAPs, in addition to representing a flight safety hazard, “may pose a challenge to U.S. national security.” Given the regular sightings in military airspace — and the apparent connection between UAPs and nuclear technology — national security concerns are paramount.

In setting up this office, Congress has legitimized the long-ridiculed topic of UAPs. Yet its work does not end there. It must ensure that the office receives adequate funding and make clear that the office should be led by a civilian director with the expertise necessary to tackle these issues and cut through the Pentagon’s red tape.

“Of course, the perspectives of defense and intelligence officials will be crucial. But the Pentagon has a long history of obfuscating work relating to UAPs, whereas Congress can promote transparency. Once the office has delivered its first unclassified report, Congress should hold public hearings to discuss its findings.

“Now that legislators have marshalled action on UAPs, they need to make sure the new office does not become shrouded in secrecy.”


History gives us insights that are not particularly encouraging, but this seems a particularly memorable development, for the moment at least. Close analysis will show how worthwhile these developments turned out to be.


Despite past NASA history to the contrary, the current administrator of NASA, Bill Nelson, has made a number of positive statements about UAPs. In a livestream chat hosted by politics professor Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia School of Law alumnus (UVA) Center for Politics, on October 19, 2021, Nelson stated, “I’ve talked to those pilots and they know they saw something, and their radars locked on to it,” adding “And they don’t know what is. And we don’t know what it is. We hope it’s not an adversary here on Earth that has that kind of technology. But it’s something. And so this is a mission that we’re constantly looking, ‘Who is out there?’ Who are we?’ How did we get here? How did we become as we are? How did we develop? How did we civilize? And are those same conditions out there in a universe that has billions of other suns and billions of other galaxies?’ It’s so large I can’t conceive it.”

“Now there are even theories that there might be other universes,” adding, “If that’s the case, who am I to say planet Earth is the only location of a life form that is civilized and organized like ours?”


This adds to the NASA statement of 26 June 2021: “NASA does not actively search for UAPs.  However, through our Earth-observing satellites, NASA collects extensive data about Earth’s atmosphere, often in collaboration with the other space agencies of the world. While these data are not specifically collected to identify UAPs or alien technosignatures, they are publicly available and anyone may use them to search the atmosphere.

While NASA doesn’t actively search for UAPs, if we learn of UAPs, it would open up the door to new science questions to explore. Atmospheric scientists, aerospace experts, and other scientists could all contribute to understanding the nature of the phenomenon.  Exploring the unknown in space is at the heart of who we are.”


It is this sense of exploring the unknown, confronting its beauty and terror, that also  informed the Romantic generation of the 18thcentury, as they engaged with the burgeoning realm of scientific enquiry. Indeed, Richard Holmes 2008 book “The Age of Wonder” was subtitled “How the Romantic Generation discovered the beauty and terror of science.” The romantic momentum of discoveries is being echoed in the confronting contemporary search for understanding of UFOs (or UAPs).


Dr. Claude Poher, of the French equivalent to NASA, CNES, began to sense these echoes, when he deeply explored the Colorado University “Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects” (often referred to as the Condon Report, after its projector director, Dr. Edward Condon). Poher found that contrary to Condon, the report substantiated that there was a real UFO problem, with about a third of the cases examined for the Condon Report categorised as unexplained.  What did Poher do?  Well,  he would eventually win support for the establishment of GEPAN (Groupe D’etude des phenomenes Aerospatiaux non identifies)  – a UFO study group within CNES in 1977, which went on to do some excellent research, some of which went a long way to supporting a UFO reality, not the least being the Trans-en Provence case of 1981, in which a UFO landed and left behind compelling physical evidence – a ground trace that yielded fascinating data.  If many of the thousands of the worldwide physical trace cases received similar attention as the Trans-en Provence case, we would have a much greater and more compelling body of physical evidence data.  Instead we have thousands of lost opportunities – a huge measure of the failure of mainstream science to properly examine the UFO phenomenon.

Claude Poher 

In an article in “Frontiers of Science” (an interim publication in the journey of IUR  - the International UFO Reporter) May-June 1981, Dr. Allen Hynek identified the problem stating, “Here we come face to face with the charge that after thirty years of dealing with UFO reports we still have no really convincing “hard data”, i.e. parts of a UFO, unimpeachable residues from soil samples, unequivocal evidence that a UFO caused damage to animate or inanimate matter.  Yet the fact is that we do have large amounts of such evidence … I grow livid when such charges of “no data” are made.  After years of frustration without the funds to pay for adequate laboratory and other professional work, I bristle at the lack of understanding on the part of scientific skeptics, who wouldn’t get to first base without well-funded research projects with staff, travel and laboratory facilities …”

“All we have are abortive, often amateurish attempts at data gathering, data analysis, and feeble attempts at laboratory studies (on a charity basis, of course), all of which dwindle into inconclusion and frustration … It is my contention that “hard” data may well have been present in many UFO cases but their discovery and definitive establishment has repeatedly gone by default for lack of professional (funded) treatment.  It has always been the case of “too little too late,” necessitated by the use of volunteers bolstered only by their unselfish devotion to the pursuit of an overwhelming mystery,” Hynek concluded.


Dr. Hynek lived to see the beginnings of some “thorough, professional study” in the work of GEPAN, specifically the Trans-en-Provence UFO landing physical trace case of January 1981.  Indeed, given access to the GEPAN files, at the direct invitation of the French government, he found all of the GEPAN cases to be very well investigated.


I wrote an article for the “UFO Research Australia Newsletter” (UFORAN), Volume 1, No. 1, January-February, 1980, entitled “GEPAN – the beginnings of the science of ufology?” I noted, “During 1978, GEPAN’s activities expanded and a seven-level structure was adopted, namely: rapid intervention procedures, physical trace analyses, radar alert group, qualified expert evaluation group, national card index group, statistical analyses group, and “Sim-UFO” group. The first 6 are self evident activities, however, the latter requires clarification. Sim-UFO refers to a contraction of optical simulation of UF0, through which the deployment of a piece of optical equipment with “identikit” – style slides are used to derive and quantify the witnesses’ “binocular” view of the sighting environment.” I wrote that GEPAN approaches were a good model for scientific investigations of UFOs. 


From the new fictionalised TV series "UFOs" ("OVNIs") the GEPAN Sim-UFO equipment is seen

A long time head of the official French UFO agency GEPAN, Jean-Jacques Velasco (who I met in June, 1987, in Washington D.C., when I lectured at the MUFON “International Symposium on Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon” about the Australian UFO experience), described the organisation’s activities and his own evolution in UFO thinking in “France and the UFO Question”, a chapter of Leslie Kean’s 2010 book “UFOs – Generals, pilots, and government officials go on the record.”   Remarkably, the former head of CNES (the French equivalent to the NASA administrator), and chairman of the steering committee for GEIPAN (the current expression of GEPAN, extending its education function), Yves Sillard, gave his own commentary and position on the UFO question in that book. For Sillard, UFOs were a matter “no longer in doubt.” He even wrote his own landmark book in 2007 (in French) “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena: A Challenge to Science.” 

Jean-Jacques Velasco and his 2004 book "Troubles dans le ciel" ("Troubles in the sky")


An important workshop focusing on the scientific examination of UAP UFO observations was held at CNES headquarters in Paris on 8-9 July 2014. It proved to be an important step in the long road of developing a viable UAP UFO science.


The GEIPAN workshop in Paris – CAIPAN – Collecte et Analyses des Informations sur les Phenomenes Aerospatiaux Non Indentifies –“allow the exchange of methods, tools and experiences between people with practical, specific knowledge in the analysis of rare and unpredictable phenomena, whether natural or artificial (unidentified aerospace phenomena, lightning, fireballs, etc).” 

CAIPAN July 2014 Jacques Vallee lecturing about databases ex Tom Tulien 

“This is really a dream come true for many of us,” stated Dr. Jacques Vallee in his presentation of his research paper at the workshop, “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena – A strategy for research.” His paper’s abstract indicated, “After years of ideological arguments based on anecdotal data the field of UAP research appears ready to emerge into a more mature phase of reliable study. Renewed scientific interest now exists in many countries, based on credible official or semi-official documents. Without pre-judging the origin and nature of the phenomena, a range of opportunities arise for investigation, hard data analysis and new theoretical exploration. In order to avoid repeating past errors, however, such projects need to generate new hypotheses and test them in a rigorous way against the accumulated reports of thousands of observers. 

“Unfortunately such a repository of reliable global data does not yet exist. Furthermore, the level of difficulty in assembling it has either been ignored or underestimated. The purpose of this paper is to briefly review previous work in the compilation of UAP databases and outline some new directions for research. We also raise the question of identifying researchable issues and consistent ontologies in the UAP domain.”  

 Xavier Passot with his 2018 book "I saw a UFO"
I received an invitation to attend the workshop but unfortunately the timing and costs prevented me from attending. In lieu of not being able to attend I forwarded to GEIPAN head Xavier Passot a 144 paged PDF document I prepared entitled “The Case for a UFO science”, advocating the need for a serious and comprehensive engagement by science with the UFO mystery. I wrote, “A potent and well-funded UFO science is a responsible and legitimate response to the extraordinary UFO phenomenon.” The CAIPAN workshop represented a good interaction of part of the scientific mainstream with the complex problems inherent in UFO and UAP research. 

The book that tried to debunk GEPAN & its UFO work 

During December, 2021, I binged-watched a 12 part French TV series that was airing, on demand, on our Australian SBS free-to-air TV network. I wasn’t expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised.  The series – “OVNI(s)” or “UFO(s)” directed by Antony Cordier – gives a fictionalised, comedic journey through “the beauty and terror” of UFOs, UAPs (or OVNIs in French parlance), creating a potent and entertaining vision of GEPAN’s early days (1978) and the then contemporary UFO narrative. Now, of course, given the shows style, much of the series is inaccurate, but I had closely studied the evolution of GEPAN as it unfolded, and saw that the series provided fragments and hints of a wonderful resonance with the times. There are cases and situations that any seriously engaged researcher will recognise as informing the creative sparks of threads that run through the series.  

Frankh Fontaine with police after his 7 day "disappearance" in 1979 

For example, fictionalised elements of the Franck Fontaine abduction milieu of 1979 (a year after the initial series setting) runs riotously through the first season, liberally diluted with allusions to the Raelian contactee movement. Jacques Vallee addresses the actual case in his book “Revelations – alien contact and human deception” (1991), arguing for a staged deception event organised by a covert agency of human origin.

TV reviewer Julia Fernandez, in “UFO(s) on Canal+: “Didier Mathure, it’s a little Scully who would become Mulder” (January 18, 2021) (OVNI(s) sur CANAL+ : "Didier Mathure, c'est un peu Scully qui deviendrait Mulder") reveals some of the origin story and backgrounding of the series: “Students at La Fémis, Clémence (Dargent) and Martin (Douaire) met in the second promotion of the TV series creation department recently created by the famous Parisian cinema school. UFO (s) is their graduation project: an idea that came to Martin Douaire because he had heard about GEIPAN, this very special investigation office founded in France in 1977 and dedicated to the study of UFOs. " Very quickly, speaking with Martin, when I wanted to do a project on schizophrenia, common themes crossed: hallucinations, the desire to believe ... A potential setting and arena for a series of somewhat offbeat UFO surveys in France"explains Clémence Dargent. After much research, the desire to make a period series, which also tells about this golden age of ufology when UFOs were a subject of conversation, emerges.”

Fernandez highlights screen writer Dargent’s observations, "The GEIPAN still exists today, but the sub-topic of the series was to explore a world we had never known, " ... The one in which their parents grew up, this France which was beginning the end of the Thirty Glorious Years, where certainties were starting to falter and where a certain enthusiasm was manifested in spite of everything. A time of the gold rush in the fields of science, a faith in progress, a belief in discovery. " We wanted to both revisit the picturesque nature of the genre and restore the energy of that time through the characters. " 

“A time when, unlike today, GEIPAN surveys were carried out in the field, door-to-door and in a trench coat. The two authors tried to put in pictures the science, the notion of discovery and the fascination with UFOs emanating from this period. " The fact that GEIPAN was created at that time is quite emblematic; at the start, the idea was to put the best engineers of CNES on the spot to try to understand, to know if there was a potential scientific discovery to be made ... It was a time when there was really this desire to believe in it! "adds Clémence Dargent. Subsequently, GEIPAN became a public service dedicated to the search for rational explanations of the cosmos, "a French exception allowing to have an official and state response to give to these mysteries. " 

“Throughout their research in the INA archives, the authentic testimonies of people interviewed at that time fascinated them. " There was at GEIPAN a very strong human contact. They, who are engineers, found themselves facing people having difficulty in expressing themselves and in describing what they see. " The two screenwriters subsequently met people. directors of the institute, who answered them very quickly. " We wrote them an email when we were still at Fémis, ten minutes later we received an answer offering to come and see them in Toulouse! We said to ourselves that they should not have many UFO cases to be treated at that time, "laughs Martin Douaire.

“In Toulouse, they meet Xavier Passot, head of GEIPAN from 2011 to 2016. " We discovered his small office, with children's drawings, and what he called" his lulu box ", in which he kept the testimonies. the wackiest. He had a sleeveless knitted sweater with his little GEIPAN badge pinned on it ... [With Clémence] we started to think more and more that the series was going to be a comedy. "

“Xavier Passot then puts them in contact with two people who participated in the beginnings of the research group: the director Alain Esterle, who is somewhat the equivalent of the character of Didier Mathure in the series, and François Louange, a computer scientist who inspired them. the character of Rémy, played by Quentin Dolmaire. " They were really passionate, they lived a time when we had the impression of inventing a discipline, a method ... The impression of being adventurers of a new science."


While the actual GEPAN researchers, UFO witnesses, researchers & enthusiasts might take issue with aspects of the series, its trajectory is entertaining, imaginative, informative, and somewhat addictive. Despite the series’ light comedy touches, the parody and the excesses that play with the real history of GEPAN, I enjoyed the show.

After initially dismissing that a sighting & videoing of a "UFO" was the moon, 
the witnesses experienced ridicule from the local community, 
but "a time anomaly" causes GEPAN to re-evaluate and return, 
to a not so warm welcome

I prefer the open science based trajectory of collaborative ventures like GEPAN (GEIPAN) to the hatchlings of a skewed, narrow visioned approach that seems to pivot around the classified military intelligence approach.  

The open scientific approach also engages with the human journey, that is celebrated, perhaps to excess, in this engaging tilt at the “beauty and terror” of our engagement with UFOs, UAPs, OVNIs, - whatever you call this most fascinating mystery.


Enjoy the series (I’ve avoided spoilers (except for somewhat clarifying the above image), and it looks like there will be a 2nd season) but do try to deeply engage with the realities the show plays with – the real science story and the reality of UFOs, UAPs, OVNIs, and the phenomenon’s many iterations.

Sunday, December 05, 2021

UFOs, UAS & UAPs from military witnesses down under

In the wake of Tasmanian Green senator Peter Whish Wilson at the Defence Senate Estimates meeting of 27 October 2021 asking the Australian Defence chief about UAPs (Unusual aerial phenomena) and UFOs, the senator, in an interview with Brian Carlton on Triple M Hobart 107.3 radio on 28 October, gave an explanation as to why he asked the UAP question in Senate Estimates, paraphrasing:

"Over 20 years ago (presumably prior to 2000? - B.C.) a friend of mine, who I grew up with, he went into the Special Forces.  He went to Iraq & he went to East Timor.  He told me over 20 years ago, he was on a exercise.  He didn't tell me exactly where it was of course, on a boat.  Early in the morning they were basically followed by a metallic Tic Tac - an object.  He told me about this years ago - he and his mates didn't do anything about it because they were embarrassed. I was back in Western Australia in July, a month after the Pentagon report release and I caught up with him for a beer.  He said, you remember when I told you about this.  I said yes I do, it was out of character for you, because he was a no nonsense kind of fellow.  He said, Well, its out there now, people are talking about it it.  There are a lot of people in the services who have seen similar things."

In my post of  October 28, I stated, "Lets hope the new push to more openness might persuade this man and his many service colleagues to come forward with details of their experiences.  Many have come out over the decades, but it is an indictment on the toxic culture of ridicule and silence, that people have been constrained to reveal their experiences."

We didn't have to wait for long, as my colleague and "saucerer's apprentice", investigative journalist & author of "In Plain sight", Ross Coulthart, reported on November 20 further details of the incident which took place at about 2 am, on a clear night back in 1992. The sighting took place from the deck of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) destroyer escort ship HMAS Derwent.  It was heading back to its home port of HMAS Stirling in Western Australia, after an "up-top" Asian deployment.  

RAN serviceman Andrew Roberts & 4 other service persons on night watch duty saw "the cylindrical object" hovering about 500 metres off the ship's port bridge wings.  Roberts was a sonar technician at the time (later qualifying to be a naval clearance diver - in the RAN's special forces.

“I looked up and there was this long cylindrical silver object, about 20m long, with a heat-haze around it.

“It was following the ship no more than 500m away. We could see it very clearly in the night sky. I called out to the officer-of-the-watch and five of us all looked up at this thing for at least a good minute.

“As we watched it suddenly instantly accelerated and then disappeared into the distance. The acceleration was amazing, instantaneous. It just disappeared in the blink of an eye.”

30 years on, Andrew Roberts, in the interview with Ross Couthart, said "he is adamant that what he saw was not a conventional aircraft, balloon, or drone; indeed, he can think of no prosaic explanation for what he and his shipmates saw. But he admits it was neither reported to his superiors nor noted in the ship’s log, probably because of the stigma associated with reporting such anomalous objects."

Roberts elaborated, “I was so intrigued by what we’d seen I went down to the radar room and spoke to the radar ops centre to see if they’d seen it on screen; they hadn’t. Looking back now, I wish we had reported it but while reporting such things was neither discouraged or encouraged, we were puzzled as to what it was and we kind of let things lie, never passing the sighting on."

“I also went to the communications centre and checked if there was any comms’ with aircraft or passing ships. There was nothing out there apart from us. So, it went unreported. Part of the issue with that is, what would people think if you do report it because there’s such a stigma attached to UFOs.”

Given the long history of Australian military sightings I have looked at, I was unsurprised by Ross Coulthart's comment that Andrew Roberts told him he was aware from RAN colleagues of other sightings on Navy vessels, including one incident in which "a glowing sphere" followed a ship at sea.

                                                                 HMAS Derwent

A history of the HMAS Derwent indicates: "1992: Departing Darwin on 13 March, Derwent participated in Exercise KANGAROO 92 with Swan and Torrens. Pilotage Training for the SEAACs enabled Derwent to visit Noumea and the Whitsunday Group during the months of June July. A Reduced Activity Period commenced from the 15 August until the end of the year."

This suggests that the incident most likely occurred in June/July, 1992.

Ross Coulthart advised me that because Andrew Roberts was uncertain whether the Derwent was in the Tasman Sea or Bass Strait, he did not report the location. These details support that the event took place during the eastern Australian coast return voyage which took it it through Bass Strait and back to Western Australia via the southern route. 

In the same reporting, Ross Coulthart also described that another former Navy sailor, Elliott Seiffert, described in his followup 7 News Spotlight documentary "Secrets of the UFOs" aired on November 18, 2021, indicating he and another sailor witnessed glowing lights high above their patrol boat at sea, probably in orbit, doing manoeuvres and speeds far beyond known human technology.

“I think it was non-human technology,” Elliott said. Again, at about 2 am, on a patrol boat, based out of Cairns, while in cruise control heading west, on an operation to intercept illegal immigrants, he and the officer of the watch, saw a white light move deliberately 3 times in a triangular manner, before apparently taking off and disappearing. Elliot Seiffert was certain, “This was something not of this world.”

While examining the Department of Defence RAAF UAS (Unusual Aerial Sightings) files in Canberra between 1982 and 1984, I came across a number of naval reports including the following cases.

A covering memo dated 27 Apr 78 from HQDAR to HQOC attention SOINTEL subject Unusual Aerial Sightings states:
"1. Herewith is a sighting report on an unidentified light observed by members of the crew of HMAS Adroit. The sighting is interesting as it was made by a group of servicemen and probably has more credibility than some civilian/urban reports."
In a telex dated 11 April 1978, the RAN ship HMAS Adroit reported an intriguing sighting at sea 20 nm of Cape Fourcroy (Mitchell Point) south of Bathurst Island, Northern Territory:
"1. While at anchor in position 1208 South 12954 East a red light was observed at 112030IK bearing 280 estimated range 10 NM for 30 seconds.  I considered this to possibly be an ICOV and proceeded to intercept.  Contact was not gained in 30 mins and I commenced a sweep to Northeast and north.

                                                                  HMAS Adroit
2. At 112317IK in position 1205 south 12954 east an object bearing 285 was observed by several personnel to rise and hover and sink to the horizon several times before finally disappearing beyond the horizon. This object appeared very large and bathed with bright red lights and at one stage appeared to close the ship. Again the range could be estimated at 10 miles and bearing width was 4 degrees. The light also appeared at one stage to flicker on and off. The phenomenon lasted several minutes.
3. Weather conditions on both occasions of sightings were good. Visibility 8NM. 1/2 cloud with no cloud below 15 degrees elevation. Radar conditions and performances were excellent with land echoes at 25 miles and trawler size contact 15NM. No contacts were gained to offset these sightings.
4. There is no possibility that the second sighting was the Moon setting and I believe them to have caused by a UFO.
5. Personnel who observed the second sighting were Leut J D Napier RAN, SBLT I O Schmidt, RAN POQMG I Potter, PO COX B Cristensen, LSETC D Williamson, LSETP G Gillies, ABQMG G Brown, ABMTPD N Paser, ABQMG M Townsend, ABWM M Howard."
The multiple page standard UAS pro forma RAAF form "Report of unusual aerial sightings was completed by naval officer Lt. John David Napier (26). The sighting location is given as 12 deg 5 min south, 129 deg 54 mins east. The second observation started at 2137 (IK) and finished at 2140 (IK) on 11 Apr 1978. Weather conditions are shown as "One half cloud, nil wind, sea calm, nil swell. Visibility 8-10NM. 
The object was sighted at bearing 285 degrees at 4 degrees elevation. It was last seen at 285 deg 0 deg elevation. The report form shows a sketch of a large, oval shaped object with the major axis parallel to the horizon, with the centre of the oval at 4 degrees elevation, with a note: "The lights around the entire object, bathing it in brilliant red light. No sound was emitted. Shape as shown. From observer's position - bearing width 4 degrees."
Officer Napier included the following "additional comments":
"In excellent radar conditions, no contact was gained to offset the sighting. The object appeared to hover above the horizon, then descend to the horizon then rise and switch off the lights. The object was next sighted on the horizon with lights only burning at both ends. The object then rose and became completely illuminated before sinking below the horizon. At one stage the light intensified and appeared to close the ship."
                                                          Witness drawing
The UAS pro forma revealed the following RAAF investigation:
There were no military aircraft in the area. An Ansett DC9 heading 230 deg at 19/2000ft speed 400 departed from Darwin at 1024z to Port Headland, which returned to Darwin and then took off again at 1224z. There were no known balloons in the area. Temperature was 28 deg dry bulb, 24 deg wet bulb. 79% humidity. Cloud cover 1 octa at 3000 feet cumulus. No temperature inversions. Nil wind. (Source Met bureau at Darwin.)
The RAAF investigating officer indicated " It has not been possible to interview the crew as Adroit is on sea duty with short refuel stops in DAR. They are scheduled for longer post(?) time early May. Will interview then."
The RAAF officer's evaluation of the sighting reads "Cause unknown but lack of radar response points to some form of light aberration," which is at odds with the actual observing and reporting officer, who asserted "There is no possibility that the second sighting was the moon setting and I believe them to have caused by a UFO."
I will point out that 1978 was a striking year for UFO activity in Australia.

Commodore Bruce Hamilton Loxton, Director of Naval Intelligence (RAN) in a memo dated 22 July 1966, to DAFI, titled "REPORT BY HMAS ANZAC - UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS" addressed the following:
"HMAS ANZAC has reported that at 1745 (L) Thursday 5th May, 1966, when in position 13 degrees 27' S, 166 degrees 18' E ((off Vanua Lava Island in the New Caledonia group - B.C.), four unidentified flying objects were sighted at about 20 degrees angle of elevation on bearing of 150 degrees T by the Navigating Officer and several other officers who were not on the bridge at the time.
                                                                      HMAS Anzac
                                                            from the UFO report of the Anzac
"2. These objects were quite distinct and appeared closely grouped with the leading object glowing red and three trailing objects green in colour and forming an equilateral triangle, apex towards the leading object.  They left trails of colour in their wakes but these did not last.  The trails were approximately 6 times the size of the objects in length.  
"3. After the objects had disappeared behind cloud ahead of the ship, they reappeared momentarily on an approximate bearing of 105 degrees T before once again disappearing behind cloud.  No smoke or other evidence was visible during the passage of these objects.
"4. The approximate time in sight was not more than 25 seconds and the objects were travelling at high speed.  No radar contacts were detected at the time."
The radar reference had a handwritten annotation (a jibe or ?): "To be expected with many radar operators."
A further handwritten annotation noted, "NOA (Notice of action - B.C.) Mr. John P___[EA] extension ___ handling to see if any French aircraft movements around this time. Not to be included in Australian UFO list."

Aircraft, meteor ... or UFO? Although there is insufficient information available to be certain, it is worthwhile to note that there was a worldwide wave of UFO sightings in 1966 and 1967. Only a month earlier in Victoria there has been a run of impressive UFO sightings - 2 April, 1966 - Jim Kibel's Balwyn photo, 3 April, 1966 - A DCA official tracks a UFO on radar from Tullamarine Airport, 4 April, 1966 - rural Victoria at Bourkes Flat - the extraordinary "bent headlight beam" case and on 6 April 1966 - the now famous Westall school case.  I also drew attention in a post to a Vietnam case correlation on the same day. Richard Hall's fascinating study "Alien Invasion or human fantasy? The 1966-67 UFO wave" should be consulted for US and international cases.

While I'm describing military cases in the main here in this post, I'll draw attention to a striking but apocryphal case from late April 1966 in central Victoria allegedly on Puckapunyal Army base. Details of the event, I believe, were described to Dr. James McDonald during late June 1967 by James Kibel or Peter Norris. Keith Basterfield summarised the taped conversation and I include that information here (attributed to  a Captain  in the Australian Army Legal Corps, who was on the base at the time)

At around 2am on 24 April 1966, seven Centurion tanks were on a firing range, firing shells at stationary targets on a hill, illuminated by flares.
A Centurion tank
While the tanks were firing, suddenly a UAP rose from "dead ground" about 700 yards away. The tanks stopped firing. The object rose up to 60-70 feet above the ground. It then hung in the air, wobbling slightly on its axis. It was dome shaped, and looked like it was made out of bluish metal.
There were 23 witnesses in all. The object appeared damaged, as one side looked to be "bashed in" around the rim. There was also a reported "patch of oil" or some other fluid visible on the side which was damaged.
The object moved towards the tanks, then stopped at a range of about 150 yards. A diaphragm opened on the near side of the object, looking like the iris of a camera.
At this point, one of the tank gunners, turned his gun towards the object. The diaphragm snapped shut, and the object then moved off to the left flank of the tanks.
At its closest approach, the object's size was estimated as 45-50 feet across, and its speed equal to that of an Army Cessna observation aircraft.
Finally, the object sped away to the west, at high speed and was lost to view.
The next day, someone went to view the location from which the object had risen. It was reported that a 10 foot diameter depression was found in the ground. Also found, were traces of oil - engine oil - possibly from one of the tanks.

Once again, either secrecy, ridicule or concerns have meant that in these various cases only limited data is available.  Anyone with more detail? Please contact me.