Long time lurker with my first post and I hope it's not too long or off topic... I am a centrist when it comes to pretty much everything, and as a centrist, I look at extremes at both ends of the continuum expecting the answer to be somewhere in the middle.
So I greatly appreciate the work of debunkers surfacing hoaxes just as I appreciate the UFO folks for filing the FOIAs that continues to give us more data.
But what does surprise me is the lack of understanding of potential motivation and recognition of solid data that is already available.
To the first point, the Navy's motivation is entirely logical. The Air Force is responsible for air cover and I'm assuming you guys have read the flat out lies where the Air Force did everything they could to make legitimate sightings disappear decade after decade.
It was a Navy Captain R. B. McLaughlin that first shared the balloon launches and documented uap's that surrounded them in White sands in 49... one of the first accounts that was documented by the use of theodolites..
So for a long long time the Navy has tolerated intrusions into their airspace and that gives them an extremely good reason to bring this to the public...they know the Air Force will continue to ignore the problem as long as possible. But by allowing these cases to leak, they don't appear to be supporters of crazy UFO hoaxes... Instead, the public looks at these videos and says if the Navy doesn't know what these things are somebody needs to figure it out and ultimately the Air Force will have to change its ways.
On the second point, reliable data has been available for a very long time. Of course it's a small subset of all sightings, but the airline and military reports from the 50s and 60s document consistent behavior that couldn't be explained then or now.
Immediate 180 and 90° box turns, pulling extreme g's that would rip any known technology into pieces, accelerations from extremely slow speeds to extremely high speeds, ability to move from ground level to extreme heights in seconds and an extreme interest in military operations. Obviously, drones and aircraft of that time period could not possibly explain these behaviors, which are very similar to the behaviors that are now being documented.
In fact, the old cases are often more useful than the new because there has been plenty of time to pull together a large amount of data and the individuals are far less worried about prosecution. If you desire some background about the types of infringements that the military has tolerated, take a look at this extremely well documented website.
Although the Air Force tried to explain this event as a misidentification of stars and a misunderstanding that a B-52 was in the middle of this incident, the data speaks for itself.
The maps show the fields of view from roughly 15 ground security guards who documented the movement of a large glowing object that hovered and maneuvered over Minot AFB for more than 2 hours in 1968... By triangulating their views it's absolutely clear that the object was not a star and was clearly inside the base.
And a B-52 happened to be returning from a mission when the UAP stalked them for 20 miles or so and the B-52 recorded its movements on their radar. The radar analysis comes from multiple radar experts and the photos and logic are pretty self-explanatory. Once again, the UAP performance could not be matched even today.
Last but not least, the control tower vectored the B52 to fly over the UAP that washad landed on the ground. They flew directly over the UAP at low altitude and the pilot and co-pilot described it as a large glowing red object sitting in a field, they both drew similar drawings and the description matches perfectly with the views from multiple ground security personnel.
Unlike so many of the other cases that the AF 'disappeared', enough of the participants protected enough of the data that makes this recent analysis possible. The bombardier had kept copies of the radar scope photographs.. the pilots were still alive and we're happy to provide interviews and their own documentation. And the interviewer was able to interview ground personnel and integrate their original reports into this study.
Much of what we need to know about this phenomenon is reflected in this case and I am not aware of any skeptic who has been able to legitimately question anything from this study.
As far as what they are, I don't know and I'm not sure that I care that much. What makes me happy is that it sounds like a lot of data is likely to be protected and surfaced in the future.
I'm also looking forward to the time when we don't second guess the professionalism of pilots and military personnel who clearly understand what balloons and exhaust images look like... It's logical that if these phenomenon are easily explained, these military personnel would not have taken the risk to surface this data and the Navy would have had extremely good reason to clamp down on cell phones.
But that's not what happened and it's going to be extremely interesting to see if the kimono gets opened in the next month or so.
Once again I'm a newbie so help me out if I have posted this in the wrong place and I hope this information might be useful.