Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory, and there will always be people who are suspicious that governments are hiding things from the public. But in this video, two US fighter pilots sound as baffled as the rest of us.


Credit: US Defense Department / Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program

Newly declassified footage shows two US fighter jets chasing an unidentified flying object (UFO) off the coast of San Diego in 2004. Spooky.

The eerie footage comes just as the US government acknowledged the existence of its Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which aimed to investigate reports of extraterrestrial life. That'll send the conspiracy theorists spinning.

The video, filmed by a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet scrambled from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, shows an encounter between the plane and an unknown object which is about the size of a commercial plane.

The footage shows a orb-shaped object flying away through the clouds.

As the colour flips from white to black, the video appears to show the UFO to be glowing, as it both stuns and fascinates the pilots tasked with chasing it.

"There's [something] going on, bro," one of the fighter jet pilots is filmed saying to a colleague over the radio.

"There's a whole fleet of them," his partner says before adding, "Look at that thing. It's rotating!"

The footage was released by the US Department of Defense, particularly its secret Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), the existence of which was finally revealed this past Saturday.

The Pentagon. Credit: PA

The purpose of AATIP, which began in 2007, was to investigate reports from military and commercial pilots of of unexplained aerial phenomena. The secret investigatory program had a budget of over $20 million (£15 million) a year.

While the Pentagon has stated that AATIP closed in 2012, the exact nature of why the government terminated the program remains unknown.

The New York Times reported that while the program has been unfunded since 2012, officials have continued to investigate UFO cases for the past five years.

US Senator Harry Reid, who initiated AATIP, said he was proud of the program and what it has tried to achieve.

"I think it's one of the good things I did in my congressional service," Reid said. "I've done something that no one has done before."

The more sceptical among you might argue that the 'UFO' here is just someone fucking around with a drone in the sky.

Whatever it was, there's no way of knowing for sure, and the US government saw fit to fund a project to tackle mysteries like these.

Who knows what else the AATIP program uncovered? We'll just have to wait and see what else ends up declassified.

Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing before completing his NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism. Chris has previously written for the independent culture magazine The Skinny, among other publications.

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