Wednesday, 18 November 2015

NORAD And The UFO Smokescreen

Part 5


This is Part 5 of an ongoing series regarding the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) and their involvement UFO phenomenon. I have already detailed over a dozen pages of declassified military documents that show us that tangible UFO events have come to the attention of NORAD. The first four posts in my series can be found Part 1Part 2Part 3 and Part 4. 

Dealing With NORAD: An Introduction          

Dealing with NORAD is not easy. Normally, one would request information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from an American government agency, or under the Access to Information Act (ATIA) from a Canadian government agency. However, NORAD is a “bi-national” organisation, and the governments involved decided to “exempt” it from either FOIA or ATIA in 1982. However, the US’s Northern Command (NORTHCOM), who partly controls NORAD, can process FOI requests for NORAD records – but everything is on NORAD’s terms. The actual response one gets from the NORTHCOM FOIA and Privacy Act Requester Service Center at Peterson Air Force Base for NORAD records is, except in exceedingly rare cases:

“NORAD as a bi-national organization is not subject to FOIA. No search of records will be conducted.”

With a statement like that, what hope does anyone have of obtaining NORAD records (be they radar data analysis reports, position statements, operational reports, etc) regarding UFO activity? In due course, I will explore this at much greater length. Despite this information vacuum, a number of NORAD records have been released during the last few decades. In this post I will focus on airspace management and so-called “air breathing” events. In the next post I will focus on space-based issues. Also, much of the following findings, unlike my previous NORAD-related posts, have only been possible due to the ceaseless efforts of British research, colleague and friend David Charmichael. Together we have managed to discover more about NORAD and the UFO matter than has been discovered for some time.

Currently, NORAD, at least in regard to airspace management, is divided in eight areas known as “J Directorates”. “J2” and “J3” are of most importance to us. J2 is the Directorate of Intelligence, and J3 is the Directorate of Operations. Furthermore, within J3 there are a number of divisions. We have ascertained that the “Aerospace Operations Division” is responsible for the unknown tracks, and, thus, the UFO matter. This division is known as number “3”. So, when written in official documentation, the whole abbreviation is “J33” or sometimes “J3(3)”. On top of that, there is further breakdown of the J33 area, but the details seem to be classified. We have, however, managed to find out that there is a sub-division of J33 called “Airspace Management” which could be of importance. It is known as the “C” sub-division of J33, written as J33C. We also know of other areas of NORAD that appear to be significant to the UFO matter, as we shall soon see. 

NORAD Doctrine For “Unknowns”          

As for official NORAD documentation, two tantalising Instructions I have on file are “NI 10-5 (OPERATIONS) IDENTIFICATION OF AIR TRAFFIC”, dated 31st January, 1996, and “NI10-19  (OPERATIONS) AEROSPACE REPORTING SYSTEM”, dated 12 April 1996. Both Instructions are promulgated “BY ORDER OF CINCNORAD” – The Commander-in-Chief of NORAD. The introduction section of “NI 10-5 (OPERATIONS) IDENTIFICATION OF AIR TRAFFIC” states:

“This instruction describes how to identify airborne objects, to include aerial drug trafficking, with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) system.”

Section 2.1 states:

“NORAD regions attempt to identify all detected airborne objects (tracks) approaching the North American Continent…”

Below is the first page of  NI 10-5 (OPERATIONS) IDENTIFICATION OF AIR TRAFFIC. It may be worth noting that David Charmicahel and I feel that this publication could still be classified, or, was re-classified after a careless release. I have chosen to publish anyway. 

The following pages continue in sectioned point form, and reveal that NORAD – at least in the late 1990’s and into the 2000’s – categorised tracks as either “Friendly” or “Non-Friendly”. These categories are further subdivided into the classifications, “Unknown”, “Interceptor”, “AWACS”, “Special”, “Hostile” or “Faker”. Finally, a track that is awaiting classification is designated “Pending”. Tracks that remain “Unknown” – despite all attempts to identify them – are designated “NORAD Remaining Unknown”, or “NRU”. These events are – or were in the past – rapidly entered on a form known as “NORAD Form 61: Unknown Track Report”. One wonders how many of these “unknowns” have been bona-fide UFO’s. All “Unknown” and “NRU” events have always been classified SECRET. Also, some of the raw data used to be kept in a special NORAD database titled “NORAD Unknown Track Reporting System” and abbreviated to “NUTR”. Discovered by researchers Robert Todd and Barry Greenwood in 1989, NORAD released a general description page of this system after persistent enquiries and FOI requests. The database contained details of seven thousand unknown tracks compiled between 1971 and 1990. Below is an image of the database descriptor page begrudgingly released in 1990. 

Upon discovering this database, Robert Todd immediately asked NORAD for a release of the contents of the database and was furnished with a series of almost entirely redacted database print outs. The columns were labelled as “HOW ID”, “Sum of Count of TRK #” and “Sum of Sum of # OBJ”. Also, a breakdown for, presumably, “Remaining Unknowns” is visible. But that’s it. The rest of the details – method of detection and verification, altitude and speed of object(s), place of last detection, etc – was blacked out. I am currently asking NORAD to release this old information, and I will discuss that in a later blog post. Below is an example of the database print out of unknown tracks and remaining unknowns. In this page, a total of 95 unknown tracks is listed, with 98 objects detected. This page seems to be results from a single NORAD Region. The time period is perhaps 6 months or 12 months of events, but we never found out, and NORAD weren’t offering to tell us.

Do NORAD actual study these events further? After years of speculation it turns out that NORAD do indeed investigate these occurrences further, despite having indicated otherwise – and now we have it in black-and-white. 

Investigating Unknowns”   

          The above mentioned Instruction states that NORAD’s Air Defense Operations Centre (ADOC) passes relevant unknown track data on to a specialist area. Specifically, section 11.1 states:

“The ADOC sends a copy of these reports to the Centre for Aerospace Analysis (N/SPANA).”

The Centre for Aerospace Analysis? N/SPANA? We know very little about this organisation, expect that it appears to have been a “joint” area between both NORAD and the old United States Space Command (SPACECOM). In fact, “N/S” (in the organisational code “N/SPANA”) almost certainly stands for “NORAD/SPACECOM”. SPACECOM was absorbed into the US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) in 2002. Interestingly, in 1995, British researcher Armen Victorian received a reply to one of his enquiries to NORAD which stated:

“The Aerospace Analysis Directorate of US Space Command does perform analysis on NORAD Unknown Track Reports... ….they perform their analysis under the auspices of their NORAD role, utilising a dedicated NORAD data base.”

This information given to Armen Victorian matches what we know from the NI 10-5 Instruction. Maybe the titles “Centre for Aerospace Analysis” and “Aerospace Analysis Directorate” are the same thing, just with lazy or interchangeable title referencing. Furthermore, very recently I have been provided with US government documents that openly state that this area of NORAD continued to exist as late as 2004. It was still called the “Centre for Aerospace Analysis”, and was a duel NORAD-NORTHCOM effort. 

What does any of this matter? It matters because it proves both NORAD and SPACECOM were jointly handling unknown track data above-and-beyond initial detection and plotting. We only have the 1996 version of NI 10-5 (OPERATIONS) IDENTIFICATION OF AIR TRAFFIC so much of this information is twenty years old, but it is a lot more than we knew before. Vague rumours have abounded for decades that NORAD investigated the UFO issue, but now we have something concrete. Obtaining a current copy of this publication has met with difficulty – and that’s putting it mildly. Either way, it would be very surprising if NORAD were not still passing significant unknown track information – UFO data in its purest form – to technical specialists in dedicated cells.

Aerospace Reporting and The Elusive Form 61”  

Another NORAD Instruction which directly relates to the UFO matter is “NI10-19 (OPERATIONS) AEROSPACE REPORTING SYSTEM”. It states:

“This instruction outlines the procedures to report surveillance, tactical action, and supporting information to Commander in Chief, North American Aerospace Defense Command (CINCNORAD) and subordinate NORAD commanders.”

Chapter 6 of this Instruction, titled “Track Reporting”, begins:

“6.1. Purpose. Track reporting provides significant air activity information to the NMCC and CINCNORAD through the NORAD Air Defense Operations Center (ADOC). The information is essential for the proper execution of NORAD's mission of warning and attack assessment, air sovereignty and air defense.”

Further on, in section 6.2.3. it is stated:

“….Information on all Unknown tracks must be immediately electronically forward told. The completed Form 61 will be forwarded NLT 1 hour after final action is completed unless otherwise directed by the ADOC. Information on any track, regardless of classification, perceived to be a threat (e.g. foreign military combat aircraft) or of national interest will immediately be electronically and voice forwarded to the ADOC.”

And, just to be sure:

“6.2.5. NORAD agencies use Form 61 to record air activity information on Unknown, Special 17 and 21 tracks.”

Finally, at the end of Chapter 6, “Track Reporting”, it states:

“NOTE: N/SPANA maintains all completed reports for analysis and historical purposes.”

This, of course, refers to the old Center for Aerospace Analysis which I have discussed. 

So, at least some years ago, this “Form 61” – or, full title, “NORAD Form 61: Unknown Track Report” – is an item of the utmost importance. Containing real-time, accurate data on “unknowns”, and studied further by whatever “N/SPANA” became, or possibly a sub-division of the current J33 area of NORAD, these sets of data could be brimming with real UFO cases that need, in my view, to see the light of day. Apparently, however, Form 61’s are kept for only five years. Below is an image of a 1977 Form 61. Obtaining a more recent version has met with difficulty.

Now that I have dealt with NORAD’s atmospheric detections and study of unknowns, I will move on to space-based events in the next few blog posts of this series. Beyond that, I will continue to highlight what how NORAD play the game now – in 2015 – with myself and David Charmichael. Much effort has gone into this work, and, like so much in the UFO topic, more questions are raised than there are enough answers for.

Monday, 9 November 2015

400 School Students Witness Huge UFO, 1970, Napier, New Zealand... But Who Has The Case File? 

I can see this turning into what the Westall UFO sighting has become, but I’ve accepted a request to do a cold case study of a mass witness UFO sighting which occurred in New Zealand in 1970. It started around 2:15pm on the 7th of May, very near Napier. That should narrow things down a bit if any of you have some memory of it, or, some actual records. Someone must know something. Anyway, whatever actually occurred, the case lit up the Napier Daily Telegraph on the 8th of May – a day after the impressive mass sighting – like this: “Mystery sky object seen by teachers and 400 children”. I’ll let you appraise the article yourself.

For those who struggle to read imaged article, I have transcribed it exactly. The catch-line under the heading reads:

“A huge unidentified flying object which appeared as a “hole in the sky” as it hovered near Napier was watched for up to 20 minutes by the headmaster, teachers and more than 400 children at Richmond School, Maraenui, yesterday afternoon.”

..And then we get into the guts of it:

“Witnesses to the sighting said there was an “unearthly quiet” as the usually noisy children stopped their play and watched awed and fascinated by the saucer shaped object. The headmaster, Mr. W. Billing, said he was watching the children playing in the school grounds when he noticed the object move in from the south. “I thought it was an aircraft at first”, he said. “Then I realised it had stopped moving and it appeared as an extremely brilliant object in the clear sky.”.”

Then one of those mini-sub-heading lines keep us interested with: “GLISTENING OBJECT”, then the article continues:

“As he drew his teachers’ attention to it, the children also spotted the object and stopped their play. “It was like a huge, wingless plane with the sun glistening on it. But what amazed us was that it was also glistening on the side away from the sun” he said. The object seemed to be hovering in an area between Westshore and Tongoio. “We were watching it when a plane came into view and landed. There was definitely no comparison between the object and the aircraft.” he said.”

 The next little sub-heading reads, “LIKE ROUND BALL” and keeps the article going:

“After hovering for three or four minutes, the object began to move away. “It then moved at ring-angles, and the next thing we knew it was like a round ball with the middle a transparent-like sheen.” “It then flattened out again and continued to move away in a straight lune to become like a bright star.” “All of a sudden it seems to light up again, like an extremely brilliant planet, and then fade again before it moved away at speed,” Mr Billing said. The object was last sighted about 2:23pm.”

Yet another mini-sub-heading reads “APPEARED SOLID”. The article continues:

“It wasn’t a weather balloon, which you wouldn’t see change from a round to an oval shape,” Mr. Billing said. “It was also definitely a solid object, and you seemed to get the feeling it was metallic.” One of the teachers, Mr. A. Coveny, said he had read reports of people sighting unidentified objects but he had always been “rather sceptical”… until yesterday. “We thought half of Napier would have seen it” he said. “Here at the school, everyone was standing with their mouths open trying to work out a logical answer to it.” A pupil had come to him for an answer. “He asked me if it was a flying saucer and I said “yes” because I couldn’t give any other answer,” Mr. Coveny said.”

The final sub-heading in the article reads “HOLE IN THE SKY”, and continues:

“The sighting had stopped the usual sounds of noisy play.” “The whole area seemed to be so unnaturally quiet that it was uncanny”, he said. It was not only the movements of the “flying saucer” which were unearthly, but also the appearance of the craft when it changed shape. “There was an iridescence from it, and it looked as though it was an actual hole in the sky – just as if you were looking through it into another dimension” the teacher said.

On the continuing page of the newspaper, there was even a picture. I would normally be ashamed to publish something so poorly imaged, and I will be obtaining a better copy, but for now it is all I have.

Luckily the caption is clear, and it reads:

“THE HEADMASTER of Richmond School, Mr W. Billing (at right), points today in the direction in which he saw an object in the sky yesterday. With him is one of the teachers who saw the object, Mr. A. Coveny. Above: Two sketches, showing the two different shapes the object conveyed to watchers, which were drawn by Mr. Billing.”

Other than two similar newspaper articles with similar, but less detailed, accounts of the sighting, this is all I have... All except these two drawings neatly placed on the one page by either the school teachers themselves, or by interested parties thereafter. Bryan Dickenson has kindly supplied me with this image from his files.

If anyone knows more about this case, such as the whereabouts of the teachers, or whether the Royal New Zealand Air Force was asked for comment, or if it was explained somehow, I would like to hear from you. If you could save me a few days, it will be rewarded.  

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Massive New Digitisation Of Newspapers Will Add To Australian UFO History, If Anyone Can Be Bothered 

Well… now there really is no excuse for Australian UFO “researchers” not to do some, well, research.

The National Library of Australia (NLA) maintains endeavour named “Trove” which is an online library “database aggregator” and “free faceted-search engine”. Trove brings together content from libraries, newspapers, museums and other research organisations and helps users explore them. In the NLA’s own words:

“Trove helps you find resources about Australia and by Australians. We do this by collecting information from many organisations around the world. This information about resources, also known as metadata, is processed for easy searching through the Trove website…”

For Australian UFO researchers, Trove’s digitised newspaper section is the thing most invaluable. The NLA says:

“The digitised newspaper zone is the most heavily-used part of Trove, and no wonder – more than 100 million newspaper articles, documenting more than 150 years of Australian history. And it’s growing all the time. All digitised, all free, all for you.”

Recently, nearly a dozen new newspapers – some dating from 1915 – have been added to the archive. And they are absolutely jam-packed with articles, editorials and opinion pieces about UFO’s, especially reports of UFO events that are completely new to us.

For starters, Daily Examiner of Grafton, NSW has now been digitised. I only searched it using the term “flying saucer”, and only over the ten year period of 1945 to 1955. So I can guarantee that there will be a vastly more in here using other keywords (hint hint, give it a go people..) and a few more hours of searching. One article that jumped out was from the 13th of February, 1953, page 2. The capitalised headline is FLYING SAUCIR” OVER GRAFTON?

The image could be a bit clearer, so I’ll just highlight the key passages:

“Westlawn residents were agog late yesterday afternoon as they gazed skyward at the progress of a mysterious silvery object. This reminded them of the flying saucer reports, occurring almost daily in their newspaper… …Mr. Baker said the object, which had a silvery sheen of great brightness, was travelling steadily westward at a high altitude well above a covering of broken cloud. He first saw the phenomenon about 6pm and watched it out of sight. He had never previously seen anything like it. Mr. Bollard said the object was high in the sky. It must have been of great size. It travelled westward steadily with no apparent up or down movement. The object remained in sight for about 20 minutes. Digitisation generously supported by

The Balaklava Producer of South Australia is also now digitised. Again, a very quick search and I got immediate results. On the 2nd of December 1948, making it to the front page, is an article titled “FLYING SAUCERS SEEN NEAR BALAKLAVA”.

             Again, for clarity:

“Two Balaklava residents claim to have seen a flying saucer on similar phenomenon in the South-West sky on Tuesday about 5.15pm. They say the object appeared in the direction of Avon and lasted for a minute or so. It first appeared to be travelling away but later lost height and seemed to be approaching in the direction of Balaklava. A vapour trail or smoke trail was also visible it is claimed.”  This statement follows other recent reports in this State of eerie lights and strange phenomena. Readers of The News reported a green ball of light seen at 1.50 a.m. last Thursday and a Sandy Creek reader and a companion claim to have seen a ball of green light with a yellowish tail travelling at high speed in a North-Westerly direction. On first appearance they thought it to be headlights of an approaching car. The time was 11.20 last Saturday night and both men claim to have been perfectly sober.”

Queensland’s Warwick Daily News carried a story on 14 May 1952, on page 1 too, headed “Bundaberg men claim they saw flying saucer”.

The highlights:

“Three Bundaberg men, employees of the Bundaberg Foundry, while fishing on Monday night sighted a bright object in the sky which they later described as a flying saucer… …They saw a silvery, near oval-shaped object travelling at great speed across the sky. They said this object appeared to be travelling in an easterly direction at a height of 300 to 400 ft. The object was about the same size as an aeroplane, and was like a football in shape. The three men said that they saw it for about 10 seconds before it completely disappeared. They vouch that it was. not a falling star or a meteor.”

Again, the Warwick Daily News bring us a sighting, this one on the 18th May 1954, page 3, headlined “Roma Sees Flying Saucer”


          “A strange V-shaped object, described as a “flying saucer,” is reported by residents here to have swept across Roma at the week-end. At least half a dozen of Roma’s citizens spread over a distance of up to 40 miles claimed to have seen the object… …and say it was travelling at hundreds of miles an hour only 100 to 200 feet up, towards the south-west.”

Back in NSW, Grafton’s Daily Examiner, on the 20th of November 1953, page 1, gives us my sort of article. The heading is “Flying Saucer Recognised”, and the story sourced from London during a tumultuous period of British government response to the UFO issue.

For clarity, the whole article reads:

“Britain’s War Office has officially recognised the flying saucer. A War Office report says that an anti-aircraft unit in South-east London, on November 3, picked up a signal on its radar screen and followed the track of an “object” which appeared to be “circular or spherical and white in colour.” The object also was seen through a telescope by men of the same unit the same day.”

These are only a tiny fraction of what I found in a half an hour search. I only used the keyword string “flying saucer”, so who knows what will come up when terms like “mystery airplane” or “unknown object” are tried. This is a classic example of how people can do really significant work with relative ease. It doesn’t even cost anything. Most UFO “researchers” don’t bother with these sort of things now, and prefer to grovel amidst the entertainment and theatre that has devastated UFO research in the last couple of decades.

Monday, 2 November 2015

NORAD And The UFO Smokescreen

Part 4


In recent months I have established that the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) have been, despite claims to the contrary, involved in the core “UFO phenomenon”. I have highlighted over a dozen pages of legally declassified and officially released US and Canadian military documents that show – in undeniable black and white – that real UFO events have come to the attention of, if not plagued, the staff and systems that make up the formidable NORAD behemoth. This documented evidence is only a sample. There are hundreds more. The first three posts in my series can be found in Part 1Part 2, and Part 3.

The Behmouth That Is NORAD         

Even a swift look over the available information regarding NORAD and UFO’s, shows that most of it comes from the 1960’s and 1970’s. Almost nothing new has come directly out of NORAD, or its controlling command NORTHCOM, or any other US or Canadian military command whom have relations with NORAD, since about 1979. I say “almost nothing new” because there have been some exceptions which I will soon detail, but by-and-large the black hole of UFO information has been getting blacker, and very few UFO researchers have attempted to brighten it. And no wonder: Understanding NORAD’s structuring and capabilities is very difficult; grasping their inter-agency relationships with other military components is nearly impossible; and dealing with them is proving to be even harder still. 

Before understanding the current situation regarding NORAD and the UFO phenomenon, I would like to briefly summarise a few things. For starters, NORAD is a “bi-national organisation” of the USA and Canada. Administratively, NORAD is controlled by the USA’s Northern Command (NORTHCOM). However, being a bi-national organisation NORAD is equally woven into the fabric of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). As for NORAD’s actual capabilities and operational mission, rather than me trying to stitch it all together, I would rather rely some of their own statements, or the statements of those who have those who have been associated with NORAD systems. For example, NORAD’s current on-line “fact sheet” states that they are charged with aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America, and, that:

“…Aerospace warning includes the detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles, through mutual support arrangements with other commands.”

Another official NORAD statement, this one as part of an April 21st, 2001 press release to CNN regarding air defence, stated:

“One ongoing mission of the NORAD Battle Management Center is to coordinate ‘air sovereignty’ efforts, monitoring every aircraft that enter U.S. or Canadian airspace — some 2.5 million a year. NORAD is asked to investigate aircraft that do not file flight plans, contact ground controllers or identify themselves with transponders”

Chapter 6 of a declassified NORAD Instruction, titled “NI 10-19 Aerospace Reporting System”, states:

“Track reporting provides significant air activity information to the NMCC and CINCNORAD through the NORAD Air Defence Operations Center (ADOC).”

NORAD’s role also extends into space. In a March 2006 thesis, titled “Covariance Estimation And Autocorrelation Of NORAD Two-Line Element Sets”, and written by Captain Victor P. Osweiler for the USAF’s Air Force Institute of Technology, it is stated on Page 4 that:

“The Space Surveillance Network collects data using both passive and active instruments, then forwards the data to the NORAD Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center (CMOC) to be catalogued.”

On the 6th of March, 2008, General Victor E. Renuart Jr., who was the then Commander of NORTHCOM and NORAD, told the US Senate Armed Services Committee:

“Space situational awareness is essential to our ability to predict threats from space. Distinguishing a foreign space launch from a missile launch is central to our nation's defense and NORAD requires this space data to determine if North America is under attack. Similarly, the re-entry of a spent rocket body over North America has consequence management implications for USNORTHCOM and NORAD. Having a window from which to view space activities enables us to have an overall picture of the next threat to North America.”

To achieve the extraordinary feat of detecting, tracking and identification of aerial and space bodies over a huge fraction of the planet’s surface, NORAD’s physical assets are made up of an unbelievably complex mix of NORAD-dedicated sensors, as well as a huge flow of data from sensors operated by other military agencies. Here is not the forum to elaborate extensively on such systems. However, it is worth highlighting a couple of examples of how NORAD monitor the skies above, and the examples I have chosen are the North Warning System (NWS) and the Joint Surveillance System (JSS). 

           The NWS is a series of 15 powerful long-range early-warning primary radars which form a 3000 mile, or 4800 kilometre, wide “fence” running from the western edge of the US state of Alaska to Labrador, Canada. The system is tasked with the initial detection and accurate plotting of long range bombers or medium-range cruise missiles, most likely predicted to approach from Russia. Three far flung Regional Operations Control Centers (ROCC) receive raw data from the sensitive receivers for instantaneous activity and threat assessment, plus basic filtering, and the resulting information is transmitted to the NORAD Combat Operations Centre (COC). 

            The JSS is a joint United States Air Force (USAF) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) system dedicated to monitoring both civil aircraft movements and military aircraft movements across most of North America. The JSS consists of long-range surveillance radars, chiefly operated and maintained by the FAA, but providing critical communication and raw radar data to both special FAA control centers, as well as three USAF’s Air Combat Command (ACC) Sector Operations Control Centers (SOCC), which in turn pass information to NORAD as needed.

Thus, it is established that NORAD – through its own systems, as well as seemingly everyone else’s – can watch airborne and near-earth space movements with an enviable degree of precision. But does any of this mean that NORAD actually detects and monitors UFO activity? And I mean our sort of UFO activity. No one would say that they do not detect and track UFO’s per se, because the core of NORAD’s mission is unidentified flying objects, and the process of identifying them. However, we, as researchers, are ordinarily interested in the type that can’t be identified. Ever. Since the dawn of the “modern era” of UFO sightings, witnesses to have described the most peculiar, sometimes startling, feats of movement and flight: unexpected deceleration, jolting changes in direction, unbelievable gains in altitude. Surely NORAD must routinely detect these oddities and process associated data for further analysis, just as they would when, say, inbound Russian fighter-bombers come calling? If the systems in place are so advanced, and unusual UFO activity is still on-going today, then NORAD’s classified records must be bursting with perplexing UFO events, plus associated investigations of such events by technical specialists and aerospace intelligence teams, must they not?

After years of studying this conundrum, it appears that it may not be that simple. NORAD surveillance systems, and systems run by other commands which feed data to NORAD as needed, usually have very finite and focused missions or “tasks”. For example, the USAF’s Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) operates the Space Based Infrared Satellite system (SBIRS) who’s satellites detect suddenly formed and fast moving infrared (IR) heat signatures that could correspond to the launch and flight of land based ballistic missiles. However, if the special detection and imaging software allowed all kinds of sudden and quick-moving IR sources (jet afterburners, mid-sized meteorite entries into the atmosphere, etc) to be left unfiltered, and thus appear on NORAD display screens, then Early Warning/Detection Analysts, and even the Battle Staff, at NORAD’s Command and Control would become very weary indeed. In other words, such IR-scanning satellites could have something the size of a house right in front of them and no one would be any the wiser. Below is a mock–up image of the sort of synthetic display screen that functions year-in, year-out, at the NORAD Missile Warning Center at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. A keen eye will notice that the image here looks like it could be Russian missile launch and flight path region, it was some sort of graphics display test officially released for use in educational material. The bottom line: In this example at least, the all-seeing space-based system creates the below missile tracking screen should potentially be capable of displaying “our” sort of UFO’s, but may be programmed not to want to. 

What about long and medium-range air defence radar? Again, it has become apparent to me that even these systems may very competently filter out the kinds of unidentified objects or odd phenomenon that so perplex us. Targets that are initially picked up but subsequently “lost” due to being weak or “intermittent” are eliminated from what is placed on the Air Combat Operator’s display screen; though, some systems may be set to at least allow a “track file” to be created on such a feeble target, but whether anyone is alerted, much less studies such data, is a different matter. Likewise, any targets that appear ridiculously large or intense can also be disregarded if the system operators so wish, and this means especially localised storm cells will go unseen, which is fair enough because that’s what the USAF Air Weather Service (AWS). Furthermore, although the details are classified, apparently some older NORAD-missioned radar networks will not plot targets that rapidly gain or decrease altitudes at velocities considered far beyond what manmade hardware can achieve; again, this rules out the types of alarming UFO events that so many witnesses have described. Then, on top of all this, any UFO events that are left in the system must be actually dealt with by humans. How many frontline personnel have simply missed the odd, short-lived event that may constitute the truly mysterious? 

In my next blog post in this series I will begin detailing the work of UFO researchers who have tackled NORAD directly. Also, I will begin highlighting how UFO’s are probably dealt with within NORAD systems.