Nimitz Tic-Tac Fravor/Dietrich Encounter - Missile Hypothesis

folly4

Member
I now think a cruise missile is the best candidate to explain the Tic Tac.

Notes:

- This short video clip was posted on Twitter. You can see a tic tac looking object flying along (and something under the water):


Source: https://twitter.com/ThanosAlpha/status/1406658944634851328


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- Turns out, it's a clip from a trailer made by Tim McMillian and Debrief Media:


Source: https://twitter.com/Debriefmedia/status/1406635503043158016


- Alex Dietrich was tagged on the post of the brief clip, and (apparently sincerely?) asked about it's origin ("Is this a simulation/CGI or raw footage from an actual event?"):


Source: https://twitter.com/DietrichVFA41/status/1406673968430522381


- McMillian, when pressed by several people on the footage, immediately said it wasn't a UAP, and Alex would know that, because she'd likely seen "hundreds or thousands" of these. (It turns out it's a missile, and McMillian knows that.)


Source: https://twitter.com/LtTimMcMillan/status/1406679282659778572


(Alex even seemed to chastise him a bit for the ruse. Ha.)


Source: https://twitter.com/DietrichVFA41/status/1406680446243643395


- The Executive Report from TTSA has one of the WSOs (I believe Dietrich's WSO, Jim Slaight?) saying the object was "traveling level at 500 knots", and that his report differed from Fravor's.

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The 2017 Pilot Report from TTSA has Dietrich saying the object was traveling "300-500 knots in straight line", and she initially thought it was a missile.

It was also this document where Dietrich says she (and Fravor) only visually saw the Tic Tac for "8-10 seconds".

Dietrich later confirmed her 8-10 second visual on Twitter...

...though Fravor is sticking with a much longer 5 minute visual, and has told the story that way for years.

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The Event Summary says the object was 5 nautical miles west of the disturbance in the water, and "passed under" Fravor's plane, when he then turned to engage it.

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- These videos came up on Twitter during the discussion about the clip in Tim McMillian's trailer...and they match the description of the Tic Tac object fairly well.

F-18 follows Tomahawk Missile:


Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGoJl8Lr46g


Kongsberg NSM anti-ship missile test:


Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMowaZ3I90o&


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- Notice in the videos (especially the 'F-18 follows Tomahawk Missile' video) how the smoke/exhaust is only visible in the first several seconds after launch, and then it goes away. Previously, I was told the Tic Tac couldn't be a missile, because a missile involved a huge plume of exhaust. In these videos, the missile flies along, exhaust free, at relatively low altitude, for the majority of it's flight.

- A Tomahawk missile's top speed is 550 mph, which is 478 knots. This matches Dietrich and the WSO's (Slaight?) descriptions of the Tic Tac's movements. It also happens to look like a really long Tic Tac...
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- McMillian later said the missile shown in his trailer was a AGM-84 SLAM-ER, which has a similar top speed of 531 mph (461 knots), and therefore fits the same report descriptions.

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- On Fox News in 2017, WSO Jim Slaight says he thought, at first, it might have been a submarine that had launched a missile.


Source: https://youtu.be/AuBIBCW5P98?t=129

(Jesse Watters had the wrong video up and was rude and, from what I understand, Slaight hasn't talked publicly since...)

- This theory relies on Dietrich's insistence this was a short visual encounter, and that Fravor's "5 minute" visual and leisurely, drawn out circular encounter is significantly exaggerated. (Dietrich certainly has made clear she doesn't remember it that way.) The theory relies on Dietrich and the WSO in the reports saying the object was moving at 300-500 knots, and Dietrich saying it was doing so in a straight line.

- The disturbance could be real, and the missile might have passed right over it, but might not be at all related to the missile. It could have truly just been the thing that cause the pilots to look down on an otherwise calm blue ocean surface. It also could have been 5 nautical miles away and just got conflated with the missile in their minds.
 
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Alphadunk

Active Member
The missile theory doesn't hold water if you accept Fravor and Dietrich's testimony about it "bouncing around" over the whitewater and Fravor's assertion that the object changed direction to mirror his turn maneuver. While missiles can certainly change direction it would be a pretty big freakin' deal if a friendly missile was launched and then locked on to Fravor's plane to follow him! Vectoring pilots towards a live fire test could even end in court-martial procedures. That would be incredibly dangerous.

Dietrich hasn't really been consistent with her recollection of how the object appeared and how it behaved IMO. She's mentioned the 'tumbling cell phone' analogy as well as saying it was moving in a straight line in the vicinity of the whitewater. Which was it? Both? Did it come to a stop near the whitewater?
 

folly4

Member
The missile theory doesn't hold water if you accept Fravor and Dietrich's testimony about it "bouncing around" over the whitewater and Fravor's assertion that the object changed direction to mirror his turn maneuver.
I think any strange apparent movement can be explained by parallax, misperception of size, speed and/distance, and embellishment. I think the 5 minutes is not at all accurate. I think it was a very short encounter.

While missiles can certainly change direction it would be a pretty big freakin' deal if a friendly missile was launched and then locked on to Fravor's plane to follow him! Vectoring pilots towards a live fire test could even end in court-martial procedures. That would be incredibly dangerous.
I don't think the missile was "locked on" to Fravor. Again, the 5 minute "chase" seems less and less plausible to me. Fravor has been insisting all 4 pilots saw the Tic Tac for 5 minutes for years. We know now that is false. It might actually be true the other two pilots (WSOs) would concur with Dietrich's 8-10 seconds? We don't know.

Dietrich hasn't really been consistent with her recollection of how the object appeared and how it behaved IMO. She's mentioned the 'tumbling cell phone' analogy as well as saying it was moving in a straight line in the vicinity of the whitewater. Which was it? Both? Did it come to a stop near the whitewater?
I think she is following Fravor's lead. I don't think anyone saw any strange movement prior to Fravor aggressively engaging, and then I think the apparent movement was just parallax, misperception of size, speed and/distance, and embellishment.
 

Domzh

Active Member
fravor and i believe slaight said the tic tac turned its nose towards fravors plane?

the disturbance could very well either be the submarine launching the missile or the target of the missile. right underneath it or 5nm off set.

more footage of tomahawks without exhaust plume:

Source: https://youtu.be/pCzBz4HMQiI
 

Domzh

Active Member
05:00

Tomahawk only burns for 12 seconds but catapults it 1000 feet up into the air when launched from a submerged submarine

You can also see in the documentary that the tomahawk is able to dodge radar tracking by moving "erratically" left and right

The AATIP report stated the tic tac was at roughly 500-1000 feet altitude, moving with appx 500 knots. This matches a tomahawk.

I havent watched the full documentary yet but might be of interest for you guys as well. Its 40min only about the tomahawk cruise missile.

Source: https://youtu.be/dWOoHx2c3i4
 

Alphadunk

Active Member
I think any strange apparent movement can be explained by parallax, misperception of size, speed and/distance, and embellishment. I think the 5 minutes is not at all accurate. I think it was a very short encounter.


I don't think the missile was "locked on" to Fravor. Again, the 5 minute "chase" seems less and less plausible to me. Fravor has been insisting all 4 pilots saw the Tic Tac for 5 minutes for years. We know now that is false. It might actually be true the other two pilots (WSOs) would concur with Dietrich's 8-10 seconds? We don't know.


I think she is following Fravor's lead. I don't think anyone saw any strange movement prior to Fravor aggressively engaging, and then I think the apparent movement was just parallax, misperception of size, speed and/distance, and embellishment.

I understand where you're coming from but if we're going to start selectively believing some parts of the testimony, but not all, and some parts of the summary, but not all, I'm not sure we're making any real progress towards identifying the object. At that point we're just selectively accepting certain facets of the tale to move us towards the prosaic explanation most people here desire. I don't think it holds muster to accept, without question, the 8-10 second assertion from Dietrich but then discount her assertion about the erratic movement.

In general terms I mostly agree with you about Fravor's embellishments but I find the idea of pilots, including the CO of the flight squadron no less, being vectored directly into the vicinity of a live missile a little hard to believe. That isn't the kind of thing everyone just lies about and covers up. There would be a very detailed investigation into how that happened and it wouldn't be out of the question to see people court-martialed.
 

Domzh

Active Member
well 5nm equals to 10km. so if they saw the tomahawk at an offset of 10km then that shouldnt be at the vectors they received.

maybe the tic tac was totally unrelated to the radar signatures they saw at merge plot / target destination.

they came in at 25k altitude, couldnt see anything at merge but spotted the white water and tic tac 10 km (5nm) away and descended quickly to check it out.

this could make the tomahawk and uss louisville hypothesis plausible as well as the navy stating there wasnt a submarine at merge plot (10km away in fact)
 

Alphadunk

Active Member
For information sake, here is a failed russian missile launch and what it looks like.

It's interesting that it tumbles. Dietrich described tumbling

I wonder what somehting looks like that goes haywire for a bit but then sorts itself out

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11QlVfGbQ9o

This is a great video but it's curious none of the eyewitness accounts mentioned a smoke/exhaust trail which would have surely put this nonsense to bed years ago.
 

jeffcondor

New Member
it's curious none of the eyewitness accounts mentioned a smoke/exhaust trail
I am far from convinced by the missile hypothesis, but reading this I began to wonder whether it might be possible that any smoke/exhaust might have been either obscured by haze or, more interestingly, mistaken for some kind of water disturbance.

In this video, for instance, the smoke trail seems to settle towards the water, and I can almost see how, especially looking down from a significant altitude without any great frame of reference, could be interpreted as a disturbance of the water. The subsequent movement and dissipation of the smoke - which, in this video at least, matches the white color of the tic tac - would provide another opportunity for illusions of speed and movement. For example, at least to the untrained eye, the white water created by this submarine at periscope depth seems like it could be confused for smoke - I can't find a suitable example, but I would presume the visual similarity works both ways. Indeed, we might wonder whether a pilot might fail to notice white smoke directly above a white water disturbance.



Moreover, for what it's worth, the Event Summary concedes this visual similarity: "PILOTS SAW STEAM/ SMOKE/CHURNING AROUND OBJECT."

I'm not convinced a pilot could make this mistake, and I'm sure there are various details in the collected testimonies given by the pilots. Nonetheless, since there is some visual similarity between white smoke and white water, it might be worth considering the confusion of the two as a component of any hypothesis.
 

folly4

Member
I understand where you're coming from but if we're going to start selectively believing some parts of the testimony, but not all, and some parts of the summary, but not all, I'm not sure we're making any real progress towards identifying the object. At that point we're just selectively accepting certain facets of the tale to move us towards the prosaic explanation most people here desire. I don't think it holds muster to accept, without question, the 8-10 second assertion from Dietrich but then discount her assertion about the erratic movement.

A couple thoughts:

- I think it's a mistake to believe every piece of testimony from every party to the event. We know eyewitness testimony is error prone. People forget. They substitute in false memories to make the narrative all fit together in their head.

- Dietrich's testimony about the "erratic movement" is a key. She said it on 60 Minutes, but elsewhere she has said it was flying in a straight line. She even seemed to indicate that during the interview with Mick. I can't find anywhere where Dietrich says the Tic Tac was moving erratically before Fravor dove in and engaged.

And a big part of Fravor's account is that the Tic Tac was moving like a ping pong ball before he engaged.
In general terms I mostly agree with you about Fravor's embellishments but I find the idea of pilots, including the CO of the flight squadron no less, being vectored directly into the vicinity of a live missile a little hard to believe. That isn't the kind of thing everyone just lies about and covers up. There would be a very detailed investigation into how that happened and it wouldn't be out of the question to see people court-martialed.

I don't know anything about this. You might be right.

But I think the militarily makes mistakes. And I can't imagine they always do a perfect job of accounting for them.
 

LorentzHall

Member
Tomahawks aren't tic-tac shaped, they're much more elongated.

They also have distinct wings.

They fly on the turbofan without plumes after the ~15 second boost phase sure, but at a steady level extremely low altitude, almost skimming the water.

They cannot climb at high speed like described in this encounter. Nor can they fly anywhere near the max speed of an F/A-18. And their turn rate isn't fighter jet level either.

The launch of a cruise missile is not mistakable for anything else. It's a violent, loud process that produces an extremely obvious plume.

Not to mention, they were in extremely limited supply after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and each one is carefully accounted for more like an aircraft than a traditional munition.

Tomahawk was pretty much everyone's first theory when the Nimitz incident was first made public, but it was quickly debunked for all these reasons and more. Nice attempt, but this isn't it.
 

folly4

Member
Tomahawks aren't tic-tac shaped, they're much more elongated.

They also have distinct wings.
All the pictures I've shared of cruise missiles show they roughly match the description of the Tic Tac. It could have been another type of non-Tomahawk cruise missile, with less pronounced wings, but I don't think that's necessary. The wings are relatively small on several types of cruise missiles, and might not be apparent from a reasonably long distance.

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They fly on the turbofan without plumes after the ~15 second boost phase sure, but at a steady level extremely low altitude, almost skimming the water.

They cannot climb at high speed like described in this encounter. Nor can they fly anywhere near the max speed of an F/A-18. And their turn rate isn't fighter jet level either.
They fly at speeds of 460-470 knots, which is consistent with the written witness accounts I shared above.

I'm largely discounting Fravor's "5 minute" testimony, and his long, slow descent around the Tic Tac. It's not corroborated by Dietrich's confident "8-10 second" visual contact testimony.

I've watched all of Fravor's many public tellings of his account. I think he's exaggerating for effect. I don't think Fravor's account makes sense in a literal way.

The launch of a cruise missile is not mistakable for anything else. It's a violent, loud process that produces an extremely obvious plume.
My theory is specifically not about a missile at the time of launch, specifically because of the exhaust plume. It's about a missile during it's flight, post-plume.

Not to mention, they were in extremely limited supply after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and each one is carefully accounted for more like an aircraft than a traditional munition.
It could have been any cruise missile.

Further, the lack of the pilots' familiarity with what these missiles look like in mid-flight (after the launch plume) is an important part of my theory. I don't think Dietrich knew what a cruise missile looked like in flight, as evidenced by her reaction to seeing one on Twitter.

Tomahawk was pretty much everyone's first theory when the Nimitz incident was first made public, but it was quickly debunked for all these reasons and more. Nice attempt, but this isn't it.
It was debunked largely based on Fravor's "5 minutes" account and his extended interaction with the object.

Dietrich's brief "8-10 second visual contact" account changes that completely.
 
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folly4

Member
Tomahawks aren't tic-tac shaped, they're much more elongated.

They also have distinct wings...

...not to mention, they were in extremely limited supply after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and each one is carefully accounted for more like an aircraft than a traditional munition.
An interesting section from the article you sent (Very interesting article for context, by the way. Thanks for sharing.)...

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In the middle of 2004 the Navy was to receive a bunch of cruise missiles that could "loiter over and area and search for targets."

Tic Tic encounter happens in Nov 2004.

When these cruise missiles are loitering over an area, do they turn in tight circles? Can they hover?

Along with a bunch of missiles, 'Loitering Weapons' are listed under 'Missile Systems' in this April 2005 presentation from Raytheon.

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This site talks about the "Tactical Tomahawk" by Raytheon, which can loiter over a target for hours. Was being tested in 2002. Accepted into the fleet in Sept 2004.

Initial tests revealed some "anomalous behavior."

I'd imagine Raytheon, and other weapons mfgs, are always in various testing phases of new weapons.

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jackfrostvc

Active Member
An interesting section from the article you sent (Very interesting article for context, by the way. Thanks for sharing.)...

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In the middle of 2004 the Navy was to receive a bunch of cruise missiles that could "loiter over and area and search for targets."

Tic Tic encounter happens in Nov 2004.

When these cruise missiles are loitering over an area, do they turn in tight circles? Can they hover?

Along with a bunch of missiles, 'Loitering Weapons' are listed under 'Missile Systems' in this April 2005 presentation from Raytheon.

1624416943323.png

This site talks about the "Tactical Tomahawk" by Raytheon, which can loiter over a target for hours. Was being tested in 2002. Accepted into the fleet in Sept 2004.

Initial tests revealed some "anomalous behavior."

I'd imagine Raytheon, and other weapons mfgs, are always in various testing phases of new weapons.

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The issue I had with the missile theory was why it would fly around the disturbance in the water. Loitering capability now makes perfect sense as to the answer to that question.

The only issue I have now with the theory is why would the Loitering Tomahawk go above it's noted flying cruising altitude. Or does that variant have a higher altitude ceiling then the standard Tomahawk which is 164 feet?


The tomahawks little wings are easily missed from a distance, so I can understand that completely. And the frothing boiling visuals over the disturbance in the water makes sense as well re being a missile launch
 

folly4

Member
The issue I had with the missile theory was why it would fly around the disturbance in the water. Loitering capability now makes perfect sense as to the answer to that question.

The only issue I have now with the theory is why would the Loitering Tomahawk go above it's noted flying cruising altitude. Or does that variant have a higher altitude ceiling then the standard Tomahawk which is 164 feet?


The tomahawks little wings are easily missed from a distance, so I can understand that completely. And the frothing boiling visuals over the disturbance in the water makes sense as well re being a missile launch

More info...

The "Block IV" version of the Tomahawk can loiter for hours and change course instantly, per Raytheon.

Assigning specific capabilities to The "Block IV" is kind of deceiving, from what I can gather. It seems Raytheon is fairly consistently improving the capabilities of any given weapon during that weapon's generation. Block IV is a generation of the Tomahawk missile.

From my cursory 60-minutes of Googling/reading, it looks to me like loitering/course-changing generally was becoming an oft-discussed capability in cruise missiles, in the 2002-2006 time frame.

Block IV is often cited as joining the fleet in 2004. Other releases show the Block IV being tested in 2006, though this may be for another application of the technology, some variation, etc. Again, the Block IV has many variants over many years.

The Block V is set to be released in 2021.

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One key point: Tomahawk missiles have been "flight tested "500+ times" as of Jan 2017, per this graphic from Raytheon.

Further, according to Wikipedia, in 1994, Hughes (Hugh Aircraft Company?) outbid McDonnell Douglas Aerospace to become the sole supplier of Tomahawk missiles. Raytheon appears to have acquired Hughes' interests from GM in 1997.

So, if we assume that "500 flight tests" Raytheon is claiming dates back to 1994-1997, it's 20-25 flight tests per year on average.

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Now... there is a testing range off the coast of Southern California.

The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) has a sea test range. At Point Mugu, CA.

I've found a few maps online. This one from 2010. (I can't tell if this is the entire range, or just the portion used for 'laser testing', as that is the focus of the document. Perhaps some missile tests require them to move further out in the ocean? I would think they'd error on the side of caution and generally be as far out in the ocean, and away from any potential for accidental damage/death, as was practical.)

And...the range can be expanded...per Wikipedia.

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The precursor to the NAWCWD sea range was the Pacific Missile Test Center, which was disestablished in 1992. Here is a rough map from Wikipedia...


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According to this Raytheon press release from 2006, they completed a successful flight test of a Block IV Tomahawk launching it from a destroyer in the NAWCWD sea test range, and concluded at the target site in China Lake, CA.

The total flight distance is listed as 869 miles.

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For context, here is 869 miles. (Obviously, the missile didn't have to fly in a straight line. Ha. And it probably didn't, as loitering and course changes were within the range of capabilities being tested at that point.) But I think it makes sense to look at the context of where these missile test locations are in proximity to the Tic Tac sighting, and just how far 869 miles is.

(I ran my distance line right over the top of San Nicolas Island, as both the NAWCWD sea range was the Pacific Missile Test Center extend to the east/south of it. All of this is just ROUGH estimating for general context.)

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folly4

Member
Here is a website from Aug 2004 reporting a successful missile test occurring 50 miles west southwest of San Nicolas Island.

This is within 50-100 miles of the Tic Tac encounter. (For the Tic Tac encounter location, I'm estimating 60 miles off the coast between San Diego and Ensenada, per Fravor on Rogan. Then 60 more miles west for the real world vector, per Fravor on the Fighter Pilot Podcast, and other accounts. This is from memory, and just a rough eyeball estimate, so I'll need to re-listen to the accounts and look over work people have already done to get a more exact location. This is ROUGH estimating for general context and orientation.)

From my recall, they were vectored out of a training exercise that was supposed to be south(?) of their position at the last minute. I'm not saying they necessarily (a) would have been vectored into a missile test range or (b) if they were, protocols would not have been in place to ensure everyone's safety. But, mistakes and failure to communicate happen. And when they do happen, it can be because of last minute changes to the plan.

Instead of heading south for the 2 v 2 exercise with the Marines, they headed west, farther out to sea. Which is roughly toward the (potentially extended?) Point Mugu missile test range.

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jackfrostvc

Active Member
@folly4

The issue though is the cruise altitude of the tomahawk, I don't see any references of it going higher than 164-300 feet.

The object Fravor encountered supposedly went much higher



Here are the other missile ranges BTW, they are in red below:


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folly4

Member
@folly4

The issue though is the cruise altitude of the tomahawk, I don't see any references of it going higher than 164-300 feet.

The object Fravor encountered supposedly went much higher



Here are the other missile ranges BTW, they are in red below:


IMAGE
Thanks! Can you send me a link to where you found this map? (There are missile test sites everywhere off the coast of CA, apparently...)

1 - I'll have to do more research on the Tomahawk, but I think it is designed to fly as low as possible to avoid detection on radar and other sensors. I don't think is has to fly low, like it's incapable of flying high. It can loiter (and quickly change direction)...is it loitering at low altitude? Or can it also sit above a target at higher altitude?

Further, there are lots of missiles. And presumably lots of missile testing going on in this area. It wouldn't need to be a Tomahawk Block IV. It's just a start.

2 - I place very little weight on Fravor's testimony of interacting with the object (missile) for "5 minutes." It doesn't fit at all with Dietrich's "8-10 second visual" testimony. This was a quick encounter, I think, that has been embellished.

A very rough hypothesis is that, when Fravor was first telling the story (like in the bar with friends), they were dubious, and told him so. They might have said "Bullshit. It was just a balloon or a missile and you didn't get that good a look..." To this, Fravor replied, "No dude. We ALL saw this thing for like 5 minutes. It wasn't a super quick thing. I chased the damn thing!"

"Like 5 minutes" can be a colloquialism meaning "I saw it for too long to be mistaken." I think a colloquial "like 5 minutes, dude" could have become cemented as *the* official encounter in Fravor's mind over the years.

But "5 minutes" is very clearly NOT what Dietrich says. She mocks the idea of a 5 minute direct engagement & visual with the Tic Tac! She makes it very clear that the total encounter/incident including the flight time of the vector was 5 minutes.


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I don't think people are appreciating just how much Dietrich's "8-10 second visual" blows a hole in Fravor's story. There isn't nearly enough time for the long & drawn out narrative he describes—Dietrich says so herself. She said this when she was insisting "we" (i.e. the pilots involved) only had visual contact for 8-10 seconds.

Dietrich not only contradicts Fravor, but provides reasonable reasons why a "5 minute" encounter doesn't make any sense.
 
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folly4

Member
@jackfrostvc

I've found several documents with the SOCAL Range Complex you mentioned. Between that and Point Mugu Range... there appears to me, a complete civilian noob, to be lots & lots of military training & testing, with missiles, etc. going on in the era where the Tic Tac was seen.

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LorentzHall

Member
there appears to me, a complete civilian noob, to be lots & lots of military training & testing, with missiles, etc. going on in the era where the Tic Tac was seen.

They were on a military training exercise when they saw it. So of course they're in a military training area.

Cruise missiles are data-linked, they'd see them on the SA or at the very least would be told if one was anywhere near them.
 

folly4

Member
They were on a military training exercise when they saw it. So of course they're in a military training area.
Ha. Makes sense. :)

I guess I've never seen the layout of a military training/testing range. They are testing missiles, etc. right next to areas where pilots are training.

I'm sure they are very careful and have robust protocols in place. But I'm also sure accidents and miscommunications happen.

Cruise missiles are data-linked, they'd see them on the SA or at the very least would be told if one was anywhere near them.
Are missiles that are just being tested on the datalink?

Do cruise missiles have some stealth capabilities?

I know very little about missile/radar tech.
 

jackfrostvc

Active Member
@folly4

I think to push forward with the missile idea, you need to find some evidence that the Tomahawk version in question can fly to higher altitudes. Probably needs it to be able to go to 15k feet at least. Basically needs to be able to do a decent altitude

According to Dave Beaty. this is where the Tic Tac was located. You can super impose it on the range charts to see how close it was to the Missile ranges. That said. the AATIP report I think puts it closer inland. So there is uncertainty on where the Tic Tac was.


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Roughly here:

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folly4

Member
@folly4

I think to push forward with the missile idea, you need to find some evidence that the Tomahawk version in question can fly to higher altitudes. Probably needs it to be able to go to 15k feet at least. Basically needs to be able to do a decent altitude

I'll see what I can find.
 

jackfrostvc

Active Member
@folly4

BTW, I updated my post to roughly show where the Tic Tac was according to Dave Beaty

I have also seen the following reports on where the Tic Tac was:


From the AATIP report:

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SCU Report:

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folly4

Member
@folly4

I think to push forward with the missile idea, you need to find some evidence that the Tomahawk version in question can fly to higher altitudes. Probably needs it to be able to go to 15k feet at least. Basically needs to be able to do a decent altitude

According to Dave Beaty. this is where the Tic Tac was located. You can super impose it on the range charts to see how close it was to the Missile ranges. That said. the AATIP report I think puts it closer inland. So there is uncertainty on where the Tic Tac was.


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Roughly here:

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Thanks for the info. This seems too far south, given Fravor's account.

From my recall, Fravor describes the Nimitz as about halfway between San Diego & Ensenada, and 60 miles out into the ocean.

He says the real world vector was 60 miles west from there.

So 120 miles off the coast.

1624502587299.png
 

Agent K

Senior Member
Here's what I posted about this three years ago:
If the two pilots did witness a cruise missile test as Slaight suspected, it would be pretty weird for the missile to be flying circles around them, and it wouldn't hover or shoot off like a bullet, and the USS Princeton should've known about it, etc. But a Tomahawk viewed from an F-18 does look like a tic tac. It may produce a weak radar return. By the way, notice how it's brighter than water but darker than the sky.

 

folly4

Member
@folly4

I think to push forward with the missile idea, you need to find some evidence that the Tomahawk version in question can fly to higher altitudes. Probably needs it to be able to go to 15k feet at least. Basically needs to be able to do a decent altitude

Nothing solid or definitive on high altitude yet. (I'm starting to wonder if exact altitude, and loiter, capabilities might be somewhat classified. They've been tough to come by via Google, though I've not done terribly deep searches as of yet.)

One Fox News blurb from 2014 about testing of high altitude maneuvers...

https://www.foxnews.com/us/navy-test-fires-upgraded-tomahawk.amp

1624587921341.png
One site mentioning the "mixed altitude profiles" of many cruise missiles. High latitude flight has a fuel/range advantage; low altitude helps prevent radar detection.

https://defencyclopedia.com/2014/08/01/explained-how-cruise-missiles-work/

1624540957808.png

Now... I'll reiterate I don't think the missile would need to have flown "15K feet" or anything close to that. Fravor's "5 minute" engagement, I'll again quote from Alex Dietrich, makes no sense. This was a short engagement.

1624589029824.png

@Domzh posted a documentary about Tomahawk missile above that was helpful. (Thanks, Domzh!)

In that doc, they have a fighter pilot try and chase a cruise missile (European Storm Shadow) in a fighter jet (Eurofighter Typhoon) in a flight simulator (Fravor often says he "chased" a UFO)!

Despite being placed right behind the missile in the simulation, he loses it completely at the first hard turn the missile makes.

I've cued this video to the correct spot...

Source: https://youtu.be/dWOoHx2c3i4?t=1700


According to ratings I could find, the Typhoon is a superior jet to the F-18 Super Hornet, especially in terms of maneuverability.

1624588920373.png
And if this was a missile, I don't think there is any reason to believe Fravor happened upon it at any ideal chase angle, as in the simulation.

Here is Dietrich describing the encounter in a new video. Notice she says Fravor "turned to engage with it...pulled maneuver to try to get some angles on it."

She goes on to say, "It appeared to respond in a way we didn't recognize. And it surprised us." (As far as I'm aware, Dietrich only ever describes the Tic Tac has having remarkable movement AFTER Fravor dives to engage it. She does not say the Tic Tac was just moving around erratically before the engagement, just hovering over the water disturbance, like Fravor often does. )

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3N-Hdo34mIU&


Here's a hypothesis...

Imagine Fravor and Dietrich are heading toward 12 o'clock at 750mph. They spot the Tic Tac/missile way down below off their right side heading toward 7/8 o'clock at 550mph, flying fast over the disturbance in the water.

Soon after, Fravor says "I'm in!" He turns and goes nose down, to try and pursue. He takes a fairly sharp turn (A or B) to try and engage the object. Dietrich says she'll "stay high" and starts a much more gradual turn at altitude.

By the time Fravor gets to a position from which he can actually "chase" the missile... it's proceeded beyond his visual range. (Perhaps, as in the simulation from above, the missile makes an abrupt turn sometime during Fravor's turn, and is heading in a new unanticipated direction by the time Fravor is fully reoriented.)

Both Fravor and Dietrich are a bit startled by the whole, short, 8-10 second encounter. It seems like this Tic Tac anticipated Fravor's movements, evaded them and disappeared.

Fravor "chased" a UFO, as he says in his account. It wasn't something out of his imagination or some bird he'd seen briefly out of the corner of his eye. "All 4 pilots saw this thing for like 5 minutes," he told his fellow airmen who doubted him. "We all saw it. For a while. I turned and circled and dove on the damn thing. Chased it. But it made some crazy moves and disappeared. Ask Alex or Jim Slaight."

Dietrich is new on the job, and still just trying to land safely on an aircraft carrier. She's not about to question her very experienced boss's story at all. She had a very brief 8-10 second visual of an oblong, white object. And her boss tried like hell...but it was really moving, and he couldn't catch it. She lost sight of it pretty quickly. It all happened so fast. (From my recall, Dietrich was mad when she came back to the carrier, because she thought they'd flown into a live test or something.)

1624592128146.png
 
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Alphadunk

Active Member
Where's the investigation? Where are the heads that rolled? Vectoring a commander of a flight group into a live missile test would be a huge deal. It's quite literally attempted murder. This would be a huge mistake.
 

jackfrostvc

Active Member
@folly4 The other aspect is that it could have been another type of missile rather than Tomahawk.
Just something worth looking into for the Missile Hypothesis


@Alphadunk
I heard on the grape vine, so take it with a huge grain of salt. That NCIS got involved and had obtained the radar data drives that were supposedly taken from the ship(s)


Though it should be noted: and correct me if I'm wrong. A Tomahawk missile is for shooting ships or land targets ie not air targets
 
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folly4

Member
Where's the investigation? Where are the heads that rolled? Vectoring a commander of a flight group into a live missile test would be a huge deal. It's quite literally attempted murder. This would be a huge mistake.

A few thoughts...

- If the accounts are generally correct, the pilots were given real world vectors at the last minute. Like, Fravor and Dietrich were up in the air on the way to the exercise...and they were told to go to this area with no warning.

- Mistakes & failures of communication happen. And there are at least a couple sides who could have made a mistake or failed to communicate here. Maybe it was the carrier group that didn't inform the test area they were vectoring into last minute? Maybe a missile failed it's test, broke out of it's appointed course, and left it's designated test area (maybe only briefly)? I found an article from the 2003 LA Times saying several different nations are running secret tests in this area. Maybe it was one of their missiles?

1624594566592.png
- Maybe Fravor insisted it WAS NOT a missile, so no one thought to investigate all that hard? (I don't actually think fighter pilots in 2004 would know what a cruise missile in mid-flight looked like.) He was the Commander. And no one was hurt.

I appreciate the feedback. And I'm sure there are lots of holes in my hypothesis...but I will say I'm getting a bit tired of the idea "fighter pilots/the military/the DoD/the experts don't make mistakes" trope.

Mistakes happen all the time. Misperceptions, miscommunications & misunderstandings. People lie. And exaggerate. People are not always held accountable. Investigation don't always happen, and they don't always yield any results. Sometimes there are cursory (i.e. sham) investigations on purpose. I'm sure the military suffers from the same sort of bureaucracy and politics as the rest of the world.
 
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jackfrostvc

Active Member
One thing I was thinking about the other day is the story crew where told of the weird radar tracks being caused by ice falling.
No one believed the story on the ship as it didn't fit what they had seen on the radar . They all thought it was a rather bad cover story.

If that's the case, if that was a bogus story, it makes you think what other bogus stories may have been told.

I've said this before. But one of the highest number of exercises they did that year in the area was for C2W.
C2W is not just EW, it is also Military Deception, PSYOPs and Cyber Warfare

500-600 C2W exercises were run in the SOCAL Range Complex that year
 

Domzh

Active Member
when the pilots described the object to do barrel rolls, mimic them and then zoom off, i dont think anyone would guess it was a missile
 

folly4

Member
when the pilots described the object to do barrel rolls, mimic them and then zoom off, i dont think anyone would guess it was a missile

I don't know what you're referring to. Kevin Day said Fravor told him it did a barrel roll around him, but Fravor says that's not true.

Again, Dietrich gives a very different testimony than Fravor. She thought it might have been a missile in some reports. You'll need to decide who to believe.
 

Domzh

Active Member
I don't know what you're referring to. Kevin Day said Fravor told him it did a barrel roll around him, but Fravor says that's not true.

Again, Dietrich gives a very different testimony than Fravor. She thought it might have been a missile in some reports. You'll need to decide who to believe.
you misunderstood me.

i am +1 for a missile and kurth combo explanation

im proposing an explanation why they didnt investigate for a missile near miss, because the description of the pilots didnt match a missile because of possible parallax illusion
 

folly4

Member
you misunderstood me.

i am +1 for a missile and kurth combo explanation

im proposing an explanation why they didnt investigate for a missile near miss, because the description of the pilots didnt match a missile because of possible parallax illusion

I see.

I connected with a long time Navy flight officer (3000 hours in the air) who told me, in his experience, almost no Navy fighter pilots ever would see a cruise missile in mid-flight.

This, along with Dietrich's reaction on Twitter to the missile above...make me believe Fravor and Dietrich wouldn't recognize a cruise missile if that's exactly what the Tic Tac was.
 
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