Military Embedded Systems

The UFO Report, robotic sharks and lobsters, and the Kill Web


August 30, 2021

Ray Alderman

VITA Standards Organization

WARFARE EVOLUTION BLOG. On 25 June 2021, the Director of National Intelligence (DDNI) released the much-anticipated UFO report. It’s only NINE pages long, and includes the status of 144 UAPs (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, the new and improved name for UFOs) collected by the AATIP (Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program) from 2004 through the first half of 2021. One of those UAPs was identified as a deflating weather balloon, and the remainder were designated as unknown. There is also a classified version of this report (17 pages long) submitted to congressional Intelligence and Armed Services Committees. I suspect those additional eight pages just contain secret sources and collection methods rather than additional facts. You can read the unclassified report on the web.

Now, let’s dissect this UFO report. First it’s preliminary, which means there will be future reports as more data is collected. Next, the 144 data points used came from observations made by military personnel and military radar/infrared sensors, not from civilian observations or UFO reports collected and published on several public websites (like MUFON). This restriction is probably based on the statistical assumption that the number of whackos-per-square-meter in the military population is significantly lower than in the civilian population. Third, the report says that the likely explanation for the remaining 143 UFOs are probably airborne clutter (plastic bags floating around at 30,000 feet), weather phenomena (ice crystals and thermal fluctuations), secret advanced aircraft made by the U.S. government or contractors, or secret advanced aircraft made by adversaries (primarily China or Russia).

Conspicuous by their absence, the words alien, extraterrestrial, interplanetary, or space ships do not appear anywhere in this report. Even more conspicuous is who is missing from the next-to-last paragraph on page 2. That paragraph lists 17 military, intelligence, and aviation sources who supplied input or participated in the construction of the UFO report. Who is missing? The CIA. That raises some interesting questions.

To read more Warfare Evolution Blogs by Ray Alderman, click here.

There have been six committees formed to study UFOs over time, so we need to look at those to understand the history. In 1948, Air Force General Nathan Twinning could not ignore the crash of an alien spacecraft in Roswell, New Mexico, in July 1947, so he initiated Project Saucer inside the Air Force to collect, analyze, and report on UFOs. The name was changed to Project Sign early on for obvious reasons. They collected around 200 reports about UFOs. Of those, 167 were credible reports and about 36 (21.6%) were classified as unknown. Project Sign sent a top secret “Estimate of the Situation” to AF brass in early 1949 stating that UFOs could be alien spacecraft.

The generals didn’t like that answer, since the memory of the panic of 30 October 1938 was still fresh. That’s the night Orson Welles broadcast his adaptation of “The War of the Worlds” drama on radio, creating a localized panic. The results of this new UFO study, if it became public, could create another panic. Additionally, the secret Project Sign name and focus had already been compromised, so any further studies would need to be top secret. On 11 February 1949, a new group of people were assigned, and a new set of procedures created, to explore UFOs under "Project Grudge."

The total number of UFO reports examined by Project Grudge can only be estimated, since many reports were tossed out by the examiners and lost. What remained were 237 of the best reports. Of those, 76 (32%) were explained by stars, planets, or meteors. Then, 28 (12%) were identified as balloons, and 78 (33%) were declared hoaxes or lacked credible information. That left about 55 (23%) as unknown. On 27 December 1949, the Air Force held a press conference and released Technical Report No. 102-AC-49/15-100, commonly known as the Grudge Report. It stated that UFOs were just natural phenomena or known objects misconceived by people’s imaginations, and Project Grudge was terminated.

In 1952, Air Force Major General Charles Cabell ordered a new investigation into UFOs: Project Blue Book. The CIA accepted the previous reports from Sign and Grudge, but said that the remote possibility that UFOs were alien spacecraft should be investigated more thoroughly since a number of UFOs were observed flying over Washington in 1952. Project Blue Book collected 12,618 UFO reports, but tossed-out all but 1,593 of the best reports. Of those, 295 (18.51%) were declared balloons, 187 (11.76%) were conventional aircraft, 226 (14.20%) were astronomical bodies, and 67 (4.21%) were birds, blowing trash, or meteorological in nature (ice crystals, temperature inversions). Finally, 26 (1.66%) were hoaxes, 362 (22.72%) had insufficient information, and 429 (22.72%) were unknown. The percentage of unknowns found in Project Sign, Project Grudge, and Project Blue Book closely matched. 

In January 1953, the CIA recommended that a committee of noted scientists be formed, chaired by physicist H. P. Robertson, to study the the Air Force data on UFOs. After studying that data for a total of 12 hours over 3 days, they concluded that nearly all UFOs had rational explanations and  were not alien spaceships. This is known as the "Robertson Report."

In October 1966, the Air Force decided that it might be appropriate for a top university to study their UFO data. They chose the University of Colorado and physicist Edward Condon as the chairman of the effort. He pulled together a bunch of brainiacs, looked at the data, and the Condon Report was released in November 1968. It said that studying UFOs was a waste of money: UFOs are not alien spaceships. On 17 December 1969, the Air Force announced the termination of Project Blue Book. The CIA also initiated several committees to study UFOs during this period, but the literature doesn’t go into any detail about what they found.

In 2007, Nevada Senator Harry Reid initiated AATIP (Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program) to study UFOs. AATIP was terminated in 2012, but Navy pilots were still sending their UFO videos to them for years afterwards (FLIR, GIMBAL, and GOFAST). On 4 August 2020, DEPSECDEF David Norquist formed UAPTF (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force) to collect and study UFO data. They gave their data to the DNI, who wrote the 25 June 2021 UFO report.

Now you know how we got here. You can go back even further if you like. Philosopher Anaximander of Miletus (610BC-546BC) was the first to suggest that there were many worlds in space, and they could be inhabited by alien civilizations. Other astronomers followed his theory through the years, including astronomer Percival Lowell, who concluded that the canals observed on Mars were made by intelligent beings.

If you want to read more about this history, the government declassified and released more than 130,000 documents from their UFO files in 2015. You can read those on the Black Vault website. If you don’t have that much free time, I suggest that you read Capt. Edward Ruppelt’s book, “The Report On Unidentified Flying Objects” (1956), if you can find a copy. He was the head of Project Grudge and Project Blue Book. After that, read Col. Phillip Corso’s book, “The Day After Roswell” (1997). He was the guy that received the autopsy reports on the dead aliens from the Roswell crash, performed by the doctors at Walter-Reed Hospital. As head of the Army’s Foreign Technology desk, he inherited all the strange technology recovered from the Roswell crash and his job was to take that technology to companies in industry to reverse-engineer. That’s how we got fiber optics, integrated circuits, thermal imaging goggles, lasers, nitinol (a metal that returns to its original shape after being bent), and possibly chicken nuggets (invented in the early 1950s).

It’s clear that after the Grudge Report, government-initiated committees have vigorously denied that UFOs might have extraterrestrial origins. Just remember what cosmologist Martin Rees and astronomer Carl Sagan said about UFOs: "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

Now, let’s turn our attention to a robotic lobster named Butter. It can swim in water, crawl-up on a beach, find and kill enemy shore patrol guards with darts coated with a synthetic version of sea snake poison, find and fix enemy positions further inland, and radio-back to the Marines and U.S. Navy SEALs on ships where to come ashore safely during an amphibious operation. Butter shows-up on page 257 of P. W. Singer and August Cole’s book, “Ghost Fleet” (2015). It’s a techno-war novel that shows how the Kill Web works and how America wins World War III without using nuclear weapons.

Does the Navy have a deadly robotic lobster? Yes, but its uninspired name is Robolobster and its job is to find and destroy mines planted in shallow waters along enemy beaches before our troops come ashore. Robolobster carries sensors that can detect metal, chemicals, explosives, and enemy underwater vehicles. It also carries explosives to destroy what it finds. Robolobster can't do what Butter does yet, but give those Navy engineers some time.

Under a Navy effort called biomimetics, they have also developed a robotic shark with an equally unimaginative name: Ghostswimmer. It’s 5 feet long, weighs 100 lbs, and swims by moving its tail back and forth (no propellers). Ghostswimmer is being tested for use in high-risk intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions in the shallow waters along enemy beaches. It seems to have RF intercept antennas (probably in its dorsal fin) and passive sonar (probably in its nose). The Chinese also have one called Robo-Shark for the same missions. It’s 7.2 feet long, uses its tail for propulsion like a fish, and can swim at about 7 miles per hour.

Now that you’re up to speed on these topics, it’s time to contemplate our next adventure. There are two additional recent novels about how the Kill Web will be used in WWIII, and many new examples of advanced technology applied to pesky military problems. So, let’s explore those. Until then, keep one eye on the sky for UFOs and the other eye on the water for robotic sharks and lobsters. If you are an extraterrestrial visiting our planet, and reading this article with your third eye, I apologize for my ocular bias.


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