MYSTERY WIRE — In between foreign policy analysis and coronavirus perspectives, National Interest took some time last week to look back at how US Navy fighter pilots described their encounter with the “Tic Tac” UFO in 2004. The attention came in the form of reposting a Dec. 20, 2017 article by Robert Beckhusen.

The article originally appeared on War is Boring, just after the New York Times reports about the UFO video and the existence of a government program to study the phenomenon.

Tic Tac video

Although the article covered familiar details, it is yet another example of serious treatment of a topic that was once relegated to the blogging fringe.

READ: This is what the U.S. military learned from watching UFOs

Right out of the gate, Beckhusen reminds us that everyone makes mistakes — fighter pilots, too. Former US Navy Black Aces Cmdr. David Fravor and a short list of others could have just been mistaken about what they say they saw.

David Fravor
Former U.S. Navy Cmd. David Fravor. (KLAS-TV)

Since the original article appeared, the Navy has called the Tic Tac video “authentic.” Unless the Navy was just playing word games, it seems that the Navy’s response has put that question to rest. But it wouldn’t be the first time that trained military observers were challenged on the facts.

Some radar equipment didn’t record the same observations that humans did. That’s a legitimate point. It’s a perspective that we haven’t heard enough about. What exactly is the Navy doing that might explain the 2004 incident, and why aren’t they telling pilots?

In closing, the article asks a number of questions and draws a familiar conclusion. Hypersonic projects could explain some of the circumstantial evidence. But again, the Navy has spoken.

So what was it? A secret U.S. test project? A classified drone or hypersonic weapon? A maneuverable reentry vehicle or something like DARPA’s Falcon Project? Naval Air Systems Command, which tests airborne weapons, has 36,000 square miles of controlled sea and airspace off the Southern Californian coast. And the Falcon Project’s Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 has reached Mach 22 — albeit six years after the 2004 object sighting in the Pacific. Or perhaps it was an elaborate hoax, or a software or sensor error. Maybe an atmospheric disturbance? Or let’s say it was an alien spacecraft powered by technology impossible for our tiny primate brains to understand. I hope it’s the last one, but I’m not counting on it. Your guess is as good as mine.

Robert Beckhusen, Dec. 20, 2017