A total of 366 unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) — commonly known as UFOs — have been reported to U.S. intelligence agencies since March 2021, with most of the reports originating from U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force aviators and operators, NBC DFW reported.
In the previous 17 years, just 144 cases were reported, bringing the grand total with the new cases to 510.
The significant increase in cases reported has been attributed, in part, to the continuing effort to destigmatize the reporting of such incidents.
Navy and Air Force operators witnessed the aerial phenomena while performing their duties, many of whom remarked on their bizarre flight patterns and the speed of the objects.
The Pentagon chose to declassify three videos in April 2020 showing military service members commenting on the objects.
“They’re all going against the wind. The wind’s 120 knots to the west. Look at that thing, dude!” one person could be heard saying. “It’s rotating!”
In another video, a voice can be heard speculating that the UAP is a drone.
“Dude, this is a f—ing drone, bro,” a pilot said. Another said, “There’s a whole fleet of them.”
Former President Donald Trump commented on the video at the time, saying it was a “hell of a video.”
The Senate Intelligence Committee voted two months later to direct the Pentagon and intelligence community leaders to provide a public analysis of the encounters.
An unclassified report was released Thursday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which said the UAPs “demonstrated unusual flight characteristics or performance capabilities.”
According to the report, around half of the new incidents had terrestrial explanations. Thus far, 26 of the encounters have been attributed to drones, 163 have been characterized as balloons or balloon-like entities, and six have been attributed to clutter.
The report stated that some of “the remaining 171 uncharacterized and unattributed UAP reports … appear to have demonstrated unusual flight characteristics or performance capabilities, and require further analysis.”
“We are confident that continued multi-agency cooperative UAP prosecution activities will likely result in greater awareness of objects in and across the air, space, and maritime domains, as well as the nature and origin of UAP in the future,” said the report.
Part of the unclassified report states that conditions such as weather, illumination, and atmospheric effects can have an impact on whether UAPs are visible.
The report said that UAPs can pose a hazard to the flight safety of aircraft, thus causing intelligence agencies to take their threat more seriously.
“UAP reporting has increased, partially due to a concentrated effort to destigmatize the topic of UAP and instead recognize the potential risks that it poses as both a safety of flight hazard and potential adversarial activity,” it reads.
Another version of the report, which is classified, was submitted to Congress, as required by the National Defense Authorization Act, for the 2022 fiscal year.