This post continues a discussion on the "Calvine UFO Photo- Reflection In Water Hypothesis" thread, here
I'm posting here because I'd like to continue that particular discussion, but it isn't directly relevant to the "reflection in water" thread. The conversation so far:
According to the MoD, there were no Harriers based in Scotland in the early '90s, though some have pointed out it could be a different plane, such as a Hunter. Agin, this is on the main Calvine Photo thread.
Difficult to know where to put this- I feel it belongs more in the original Calvine thread, but it's in response to NorCal Dave's post here:
("...here" being NorCal Dave's post, 1st link above), NorCal Dave gave a well-reasoned reply, here:
More specifically from the MoD memo as discussed on the main thread:
To clarify, my belief
is that the Calvine photo(s) is (are) a hoax, but I can't prove it; if I could I'd gleefully post my evidence.
I know next to nothing about photography, but the "UFO" looks too boldly-defined to be at any distance, no subtle atmospheric "bluing" / paling.
The examples given in the "Calvin Photo Hoax Theories" thread
seem sufficiently close matches to demonstrate that the Calvine photo could have been faked with relatively little effort, and I think that this is more likely than (1) a secret test of a large, silent, rapidly- manoeuvring VTOL aircraft in 1990 or (2) an extra-terrestrial craft sent to view a bit of countryside for a few minutes.
, I don't think the presence of a Harrier (if it is a Harrier) on a day when the Ministry of Defence (MoD) states that none were in the area is sufficient to debunk the Calvine photo by itself.
But where did these aircraft originate? Research by Graeme Rendall
and others have established there were no Harriers based in mainland Scotland at the time.
Here's a clear picture of a Harrier, stated to be at Lossiemouth, summer 1990, from an aviation enthusiasts site.
-I've just noticed the photographer's date, 12/07/90 (in image), this is 23 days before "Calvine" (04/0/90)
The website is pretty "straight", there's no UFO or conspiracy angle, and I can't think of a reason for the photographer to lie.
The closest he can get is that some Germany based RAF Harriers were training for low-level flying, but there is no record of that happening in Scotland:
This document also mentions the task had ‘already [been] discussed with Ops 4 Squadron
‘. This is significant as No 4 Squadron
flew ground attack Harrier jets from RAF Gutersloh in Germany in 1990.
("He" being Dr David Clarke). Er, so a German-based Harrier squadron wasn't in Scotland. Not exactly breakthrough research on Clarke's part. No. 4 Squadron were in Germany with Harriers 1970-1999, No. 3 Squadron, likewise, 1971-1999.
No. 1 Squadron operated Harriers in the UK 1969-2010, from RAF Wittering and RAF Cottesmore. No. 233 Operational Conversion Unit, later No .20 (Reserve) Squadron was co-located with No. 1 and flew Harriers 1970-2010.
The above photograph was identified as a No. 1 Squadron Harrier arriving in Lossiemouth .
In 1990 (and quite a few years before and after) HM Ships Invincible, Illustrious and Ark Royal all operated Harriers, often in northern waters.
There were Harriers performing a very unusual evening time training run on a Saturday and the MoD failed to identify them.
The MoD often posts scheduled low-flying times and tries to "be a good neighbour" (and employer) by minimizing unnecessary weekend and night flying. However, changes do occur, not all low-level (or supersonic) flights are announced in advance, and British forces do
practice night flying.
In 1990, the RAF started receiving Harriers optimized for night attack:
(Wikipedia, "British Aerospace Harrier II", accessed 25/03/23, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Aerospace_Harrier_II
...so the RAF Harrier Squadrons would need to practice at dusk and night. And this need coincides with the time of the Calvine photo.
As well as making the odd administrative or PR mistake, I think we should consider the possibility that the MoD might at times be less than 100% truthful about some matters. I doubt very much that the Calvine photo shows either a UFO or "X-plane", but if it does show a real jet, there might be reasons for the MoD to obfuscate or deny it- maybe testing low-level night attack, maybe something as mundane (and morally questionable) as a wish to avoid having to compensate local farmers for distress / injury to livestock grazing at a time when no low-flying was scheduled.
There are some precedents, of course; e.g. RAF pilots flew U2's over the Soviet Union, something very few people knew at the time (or for some decades after) despite the death of a pilot in training:
"Revealed, the RAF's secret Cold War heroes", Paul Lashmar, The Independent
, Sunday 26 January 1997