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“Lack of wings and lack of evident means of propulsion clearly rule out conventional aircraft and helicopters. Many are soundless, many move at such speeds and with such accelerations that they defy understanding in terms of present technology.”

This description – which outlines an intriguing science problem – could easily apply to mysterious flying objects encountered by military aviators in recent years. In 2014 and 2015, for example, Navy pilots tracked unidentified craft seemingly able to turn, stop in midair and rapidly accelerate “with no jet engine, no exhaust plume” and no wings.

A few years earlier, at least five naval aviators witnessed an object that, as a squadron commander later recounted, had no “wings or rotors and outran our F-18s,” accelerating to extreme speeds in the blink of an eye.

According to former director of national intelligence John Ratcliffe, unidentified objects are engaging “in actions that are difficult to explain. Movements that are hard to replicate, that we don’t have the technology for, or are traveling at speeds that exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom.” Asked about these encounters, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) referred to “technology which is in a whole different sphere than anything we understand.”

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