In 2008, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) began disclosing the secret files concerning UFO/UAP phenomena that had been hidden for 50 years. The ministry’s recent release was in 2013. One astonishing incident, which was revealed in the MoD files, happened in 1957 over East Anglia, England. It involves the two U.S. fighter planes that were ordered to shoot down an aircraft carrier-sized UFO. (Archive Source)
The accounts of the incident were made public concerning the recollections of two retired pilots from the USAF 406th Fighter Interceptor Wing, which came to light when they met at a reunion at RAF Manston in 1988. One pilot said he was seconds away from firing 24 rockets at the object, which moved erratically and gave a radar reading like “a flying aircraft carrier.”
On May 20, 1957, 25-year-old USAF lieutenant Milton Torres was with the 514th Fighter Interceptor Squadron in the 406th Air Expeditionary Wing based at RAF Manston in Kent. Lt. Torres was the pilot of one of two F-86D jets at RAF Manston airfield when the incident occurred in the late evening on May 20.
Lt. Torres and the other pilot Dave Roberson were in the “alert shack” at RAF Manston when they received instructions to take to the air. The two pilots raced to their respective F-86Ds and took off well within the allotted five minutes.
“I can remember the call to scramble quite clearly, however, I cannot remember specifics such as the actual vector to turn after take off. We were airborne well within the 5 minutes allotted to us, and basically scrambled to about Flight Level 310. Our vector took us out over the North Sea just east of East Anglia. Normally, Dave Roberson, the other member of the set of two fighters would be the lead ship. I can only suggest that I was leading due to an in-place turn of some sort.
I remember in quite specific terms talking as lead to the GCI3 site (whose call sign I cannot recall). I was advised of the situation quite clearly. The initial briefing indicated that the ground was observing for a considerable time a blip that was orbiting the East Anglia area.
There was very little movement and from my conversation with the GCI, all the normal procedures of checking with all the controlling agencies revealed that this was an unidentified flying object with very unusual flight patterns. In the initial briefing, it was suggested that the bogey was motionless for long intervals.
The instructions came to go ‘gate’ to expedite the intercept. Gate was the term used to use maximum power (in the case of the F86-D that meant full afterburner) and to proceed to an Initial Point at about 32,000 feet. By this time, my radar was on, and I was looking prematurely for the bogey.
The instructions came to report any visual observations, to which I replied ‘I’m in the soup and it’s impossible to see anything!’ The weather was probably high alto stratus, but between being over the North Sea and in the weather, no frame of reference was available, i.e. no stars, no lights, no silhouettes – in short nothing. GCI continued the vectoring and the dialogue describing the strange antics of the UFO.”
Aware that he was reaching the upper limit of his jet’s capabilities, Torres requested to come out of the afterburner, but ground control denied his request. At that time, he prepared to execute the order to “fire a full salvo of rockets at the UFO.” The F-86D carried 24 rockets that contained the power of a 75mm artillery shell.
As Torres prepared all 24 of his rockets for firing, he could hear the other F-86D pilot also responding to orders from ground control. “I wasn’t paying too much attention… but I clearly remember him giving a ‘Roger’ to all the transmissions. I can only suppose he was as busy as I was.”
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Torres was given a final turning maneuver to execute and was told to look 30 degrees to port. His radar screen displayed the UFO at 30 degrees and about 15 miles distant. He said: “The blip was burning a hole in the radar with its incredible intensity. It was similar to a blip I had received from B-52s and seemed to be a magnet of light.”
According to Torres, the radar return “had the proportions of a flying aircraft carrier.” He added: “By that I mean the return on the radar was so strong that it could not be overlooked by the fire control system on the F-86D… The larger the airplane the easier the lock on. This blip almost locked itself… it was the best target I could ever remember locking on to. I had locked on in just a few seconds, and I locked on exactly 15 miles, which was the maximum range for lock on.”
Suddenly, Torres noticed that the object on the radar screen was moving. He was left with the impression that the UFO was moving at no less than Mach 10 (over 7,000 miles per hour) when it disappeared.
According to Torres, the UFO “didn’t follow classic Newtonian mechanics. It made a right turn almost on a dime. The (Royal Air Force radar) scope had a range of 250 miles. And after two sweeps, which took two seconds, it was gone. And I was flying almost at Mach 1.”
He returned to the base and was debriefed the next day by an unnamed man who “looked like a well-dressed IBM salesman.”
“He threatened me with a national security breach if I breathed a word about it to anyone,” Torres said.
The documents contain no official explanation for the incident, which came at a time of heightened tension between the West and the Soviet Union. Planes were on constant stand-by at British bases for a possible Soviet attack.
The files blame other UFO sightings on weather balloons, clouds or normal aircraft. Torres said he had been waiting for 50 years for an explanation. “I shall never forget it. On that night I was ordered to open fire even before I had taken off. That had never happened before.”
Speaking to Miles O’Brien of Cable News Network (CNN), Torres said he is convinced the UFO he had encountered was designed by an “alien” intelligence and was not manufactured on Earth. He also noted: “It was some kind of space alien craft. It was so fast, it was so incredible… it was absolutely death-defying.” (Source)
UFO expert David Clarke said the sighting may have been part of a secret U.S. project to create phantom aircraft on radar screens to test Soviet air defenses. “Perhaps what this pilot had seen was some kind of experiment in electronic warfare or maybe it was a UFO,” he said. “Something very unusual happened.”