2022 report on UFOs is out. Hundreds of sightings remain unexplained
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) at the Department of Defense released the 2022 Report on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) on Thursday this week. Although delayed, the release of the report was mandated by the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act and included more than 500 reported sightings in the year.
UAP is the new terminology now being used for the unidentified flying objects (UFOs) that have long attracted media attention and given birth to conspiracy theories about alien contact and much more.
After years of remaining tight-lipped about these events, the U.S. military has decided to be more transparent in its dealings with these reports. It has set up the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), which recently created the 2022 Annual report and presented it to the U.S. Congress. An unclassified version of the report is now available to the public.
What does the report say?
In all, the report has cataloged 510 reports of UAP from various agencies involved in the work and branches of the U.S. military. Personnel from the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy were able to report these incidents through official channels that have now been established.
The ODNI assessed 366 of these reports, which were newly identified since AARO's creation, and found that 26 could be characterized as "uncrewed aircraft systems" or drones". At the same time, 163 could be attributed to balloons or "balloon-like entities". Six of the reports were classified as "airborne clutter" which can be anything from birds to flying plastic shopping bags.
This leaves 171 reports uncharacterized and unattributed, with the ODNI report acknowledging that some sightings "demonstrated unusual flight characteristics or performance capabilities", which requires further analysis.
What does that mean?
With no real alien spotting done in the past year, the report might seem like regular progress of the government office submitted with much care to make it interesting to the reader.
However, the report does not go on to make some interesting observations. One among them is the military aviators' bias in reporting these events since the guidelines were issued. Aviators in controlled airspaces could likely be reporting most instances of UAP due to the larger number of sensors in these military areas.
The report also states that some of the events cataloged may be due to errors in the equipment, sensors used for recording, or during the operation of the equipment. The report also clarifies that there have been no reported collisions between U.S. aircraft and UAP nor any encounters that have adversely affected the health of the observers.
The ODNI report stressed the need to strengthen aerospace safety and dedicate scientific resources to investigating UAP. Since most of these events are reported in sensitive airspaces, there is a risk to flight safety and possible surveillance from adversarial countries, which needs to be considered.
From the report, it does seem like the ODNI is looking to tighten the screws on airspace security for now, and we may have to wait many more years before we get into the details of unexplained UAP.
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