A RADAR-VISUAL UFO SIGHTING

The year 1956 closes with one of the stronger Project Blue Book cases that I have chosen. It involved the 43rd Air Division operating out of Itazuke Air Base in Japan. On December 17, two USAF F-86-D jets were practicing at about 25,000 feet when the intercepting pilot detected a radar blip on his APG-37 radar system from an unknown object "UFO" in the sky that showed up as roughly the size of a B-29 bomber at 20 miles. The pilot called ground control and obtained permission to intercept the unknown.

The F-86-D headed toward the UFO Sighting. Its instruments indicated that it was closing at a speed 690-805 mph, which would mean that the target was stationary. At 17 miles distance the jet obtained a radar lock on its target and the system guided the jet to the target. Continuing to close, the pilot could see the object once he came within 9 miles. It was oval in shape, tan in color, and with a flat bottom and a rounded top. At about this time the pilot's radar was suddenly jammed by a strong interference. He used his 'anti-jam procedure' which switched the radar to a different frequency. This worked for about ten seconds and then he was jammed again at his new frequency. The closest distance that he obtained to the UFO was just under 6 miles, which is when the UFO Sighting made a shallow left turn and then accelerated to approximately 1700-2100 mph.

Upon landing, all the jet's equipment, including the radar system, was checked out by ground personnel and found to be operating correctly. Project Blue Book explained the case by stating the radar signature was spurious and the visual sighting was that of a balloon. What was not explained was how the balloon moved away from the plane at such a high speed, how a balloon would generate a jamming signal against the jet's radar, or the odds that his radar would display the object's location at the exact spot where the pilot visually saw it. Those types of details were ignored by Project Blue Book and instead a conclusion was hypothesized.

USAF F-86-D jets

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