Cube in a Sphere UFO's Seen by Navy pilots. Radar Targets?

Mick West

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Staff member
Source: https://twitter.com/Aviation_Intel/status/1142532802237194240


Tyler Rogoway raises and interesting suggestion, that the "cube in a sphere" things that have been reported are actually some form of radar reflector. Weather balloons and boats have radar reflectors made of three intersecting planes of metal or metal coated material. The corners are "retroreflective" meaning they show up really well on passive radar systems.

He found an old patent, U.S. Patent #2,463,517, which describes a radar reflector inside a balloon. He goes to to speculat about various ways this might be used, possibly that they were launced from a submarine to test the fleet's radar defenses.

Looking through the citations to that patent I came across US3671965A from 1972, with this fun diagram:
Metabunk 2019-06-22 14-08-53.jpg

This is a radar countermeasure. It's lightweight, collapsible, stored in a tube, and when it is shot out it springs into shape. It's not a balloon, but it would still look like a sphere in a ball.

So is it possible that during training exercises pilots were practicing deploying something similar, and then a few thousand feet lower another jet in the exercise (or even the same jet, they would take many minutes to fall) would see it. Having never seen it in the expanded form, it might look rather odd. The relative motion of the jet would make the reflector look like it was moving fast.
 

Mick West

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Staff member
This would be termed a "passive radar decoy", and while the patent is from 1972, there's actually something like it in use for ships.

So we want to look for an air-launched passive decoy.
 

Agent K

Active Member
I knew about corner reflectors carried by balloons like in Project Mogul, but I didn't know about reflectors inside balloons. They'd show up on radar all right, whether or not it's upgraded, but the East Coast UFOs showed up after the radar was upgraded, according to the NY Times. I thought the upgraded radar might detect regular balloons and birds better, but any radar can detect corner reflectors.

upload_2019-6-22_15-40-51.png
 
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Candy-O

New Member
This makes perfect sense.. the cube-in-sphere is just so odd and specific a shape, and I've never seen it being described before by UFO witnesses, and it's not a "classic" generic shape that describes all manner of mundane objects Rogoway did some amazing sleuthing here.
 

Gerard

Member
Surely if these were radar targets in regular use by the Navy the pilots would have easily identified them.

I wonder if they weren't instead part of a complex system of radar countermeasures that was somehow also able to generate fake high velocity tracks. If so that might explain most of the phenomena so far reported to have been observed during the 2014-2015 period.

The remaining question is who deployed this system. If it was a highly classified US program I would think the responsible agency would have ensured that none of this information got out. That leaves some other nation as the more likely culprit.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Surely if these were radar targets in regular use by the Navy the pilots would have easily identified them.
Not if they are occasional radar decoys launched from the jet. They might never see them in their expanded state.

It's all rather speculative, but it's an interesting possibility that should be on the list.
 

Mick West

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I think military pilots would be extremely well informed about any hardware that could be deployed by their aircraft.
Maybe it was deployed on a different aircraft? Maybe they were new?

I guess we should ask a navy pilot.
 

Mick West

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Staff member
Yes, but that's a very different scenario compared to Mick's theory that it belonged to the US Navy and the pilots didn't know about it.
Not so much that they didn't know about it - but they didn't know what it looked like after launch. An unlikely scenario where they launch the radar countermeasure from a tube, but normally never see it in the air, so don't know what it looks like in the air.
 

Gerard

Member
Not so much that they didn't know about it - but they didn't know what it looked like after launch.
That still assumes a serious training deficit. Don't you think navy pilots spend countless hours training on videos of what military hardware looks like in the air ?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
That still assumes a serious training deficit. Don't you think navy pilots spend countless hours training on videos of what military hardware looks like in the air ?
Sure, but why exactly would they study what a radar countermeasure would look like if they were never expected to see them? They shoot them out the back of the plane, they drift downwards behind them.

I don't think this a particularly likely explanation, but it's on the list.
 

Gerard

Member
Sure, but why exactly would they study what a radar countermeasure would look like if they were never expected to see them? They shoot them out the back of the plane, they drift downwards behind them.
Because at some point they are likely to see them, like if they're flying behind or below the plane that ejects them.

Anyway I don't think Tyler Rogoway's article really suggests that these kind of radar reflectors are in common use, just that they were patented and so might potentially be used for very specific applications.

As far as I know what is commonly used for this purpose is chaff and that doesn't look anything like these balloons.
 

Agent K

Active Member
Because at some point they are likely to see them, like if they're flying behind or below the plane that ejects them.

Anyway I don't think Tyler Rogoway's article really suggests that these kind of radar reflectors are in common use, just that they were patented and so might potentially be used for very specific applications.

As far as I know what is commonly used for this purpose is chaff and that doesn't look anything like these balloons.
Expendable countermeasures range from chaff to parachuted decoys to missiles like the Miniature Air-Launched Decoy. The ones that are not in common use are more likely to confuse pilots.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Commander Fravor said something interesting here:
Source: https://youtu.be/dvfRRgFHSRE?t=2690

"a square that has an aura around it"

Very interesting because of the constant misrepresentation of the "aura" aritifact in the IR footage as something significant. Which I explain here:
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r119JWI04Ls


I show an example of a round glow around a circle shape


But you can also get a round glow around a square shape!
Metabunk 2019-07-31 08-05-05.jpg

So why did Fravor say aura? Was this "cube in a sphere" actually seen only on the FLIR?
 

Agent K

Active Member
So why did Fravor say aura? Was this "cube in a sphere" actually seen only on the FLIR?
He may have said aura because of all the talk about glowing auras, but it sure sounds like he's retelling a visual sighting of the object that "went like 100 feet down the side" and almost hit the F-18.
 
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