MIRAGE jets on alert at Williamtown RAAF to intercept UFOs in June 1983?
So reveals a recently declassified file of of UFO material put into the public domain recently by the National Archives of Australia and reported in yesterday’s Sun-Herald.
The file reveals that a pair of Mirages were readied to intercept UFOs believed to be travelling at speeds of between 1100km/h and 6500km/h at high altitude about 70 to 150 nautical miles north of Sydney.
The potential UFOs had been picked up on radar at Mascot airport.
The jets were placed on round-the-clock standby until the RAAF sent its experts to Sydney to investigate the radar blips.
As journalist Tim Barlass wrote yesterday, the RAAF compared the radar showing the blips with another in a ‘‘workshop across the corridor’’ and found the UFOs were generated by an interference pattern known as ‘‘running rabbits’’.
The RAAF said Operation Close Encounter cost 66.5 days of overtime and 1000kilometres of travel in a staff car.
As well, a C130 Hercules transport plane ‘‘may have been diverted to Sydney airport’’ to drop off one of the RAAF experts.
‘‘The lines of communication, extending as they did across the width of an entire corridor, seem to have been insufficient for the purpose,’’ Williamtown Squadron Leader K. Keenan wrote at the time.
The national archives catalogue dozens of official UFO documents on their website but only a small number are accessible by free digital download.
Even so, this material includes hundreds of pages of Australian UFO sightings from the 1950s onwards.
A note attached to the files says the RAAF has not been responsible for collecting UFO sightings since 1994.
It is unclear which government agency, if any, took over this role, publicly at least.
And out in cyberspace, the archive drop is whetting the appetites of UFOlogists everywhere.