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The U.S. Navy pilots flying maneuvers in their F/A-18 Super Hornets in 2015 did not have to wait for yesterday’s leak of the classified government report on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP)—better known as UFOs—to know that they were seeing things they could not explain outside their windscreens. The objects were, yes, saucer-shaped, and they were bobbing, darting and changing directions with a speed and nimbleness that no known technology could manage.

“Look at that thing, dude!” one pilot shouted. “Oh my gosh. There’s a whole fleet of them. They’re going against the wind! The wind’s 120 knots [135 mph] west!”

Cockpit cameras captured what the crew was seeing, and in 2020, the Pentagon declassified the footage. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about what the crew saw that day was how unremarkable it was becoming. In the past 20 years, military pilots have made more than 120 sightings of objects with no apparent signs of conventional propulsion—no exhaust or contrails, and certainly no wings or fins.

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