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UFO Hearing: Ex-Navy fighter pilot Ryan Graves describes shapes, size of mysterious objects

Former Navy fighter pilot Ryan Graves Tuesday warned that regular UFO sightings are endangering the lives of military aviators, described the shape of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) seen by members of his squadron and said the mysterious objects must be treated “like a foreign adversary.”

Graves made the comments outside a House Intelligence subcommittee hearing Tuesday on UAP, the first of its kind examining mysterious flying objects since the 1960s. Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray and Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Ronald Moultrie briefed lawmakers on the increasingly frequent sightings. The Pentagon officials said not all of the sightings can be explained, and that UAP have resulted in at least 11 near misses with U.S. military aircraft. 

“We have nearly a magnitude more close-air collision potential from our aviators, from these objects, than were initially suspected,” Graves said of increased reporting of UAP sightings by pilots in recent years. “So from my perspective, getting energy on this is simply just going to save lives at the end of the day for our Navy operators. And at the end of the day, we have a mystery to solve.”


Tuesday’s comments were not Graves’ first time addressing UAP sightings in the media. In a previous appearance on 60 Minutes, Graves said that he often detected UAP on his F-18’s instruments, and that members of his squadron regularly saw the objects while flying. 

Graves added Tuesday that UAs would sometimes fly right between aircraft flying in formation. 

An image of a UFO shown at a House Intelligence Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee Hearing on March 17, 2022. DOD officials said they do not have an explanation for what the object is. (Tyler Olson/Fox News)

“The people in our squadron that did see them, they would describe them as simply a dark gray or dark black cube, inside a clear sphere about 15, maybe 20 feet in diameter,” Graves said. 


A 2021 report — a redacted classified version of which was published by The Black Vault earlier this year — said the government recorded 144 reports from 2004 to 2021, including 80 that “involved observation with multiple sensors.” The report also included information on “common shapes” of the UAPs, although the entire sections on the shapes are redacted. 

The Department of Defense showcased images of unidentified flying objects during a hearing on May 17, 2022. Pentagon officials said some objects that appeared in the shape of triangles were actually unmanned aerial vehicles. They appeared that way because they were observed through night-vision goggles, officials said.  

The government has said that UAP “probably lack a single explanation.” Neither classified nor unclassified reports from the government so far rule out space aliens. But other possible explanations are “airborne clutter” like birds and balloons, “natural atmospheric phenomena,” like ice crystals, highly classified U.S. government programs, or “foreign adversary systems” from Russia, China or other countries.

Graves said Tuesday the default assumption should be that these objects are from adversaries.


“At the end of the day we have to treat it like it’s a foreign adversary… there’s no other option,” Graves said. “We’re putting a lot of stuff on our jets. As we heard today, radio frequencies are a very important consideration. Our ability to modulate and control what comes out of our aircraft is very important. And so if you’re seeing objects out there that are either not transmitting or are transmitting, there’s valuable intelligence we can gain from that.” 

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., talks to reporters after leaving a classified briefing on UFOs on May 17, 2022. 

Rep, Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., agreed with Graves that the security of American pilots and the American homeland needs to be a focus when dealing with UAP.

“Any time you have something fouling a range, it’s certainly a threat to our pilots… so it is at least a safety issue,” Gallagher told Fox News outside a classified briefing that followed the Tuesday hearing. “I’m not willing to say it’s a dramatic that to homeland security at this point, but it’s something we need to take seriously, of course.”

“In light of the, what I would call existential competition we are in with China right now, I mean this is a technological competition… we have to take that seriously,” Gallagher continued. “And our ability to interrogate basic scientific questions is key to our broader ability win that technological race with the Chinese Communist Party.” 

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