The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has released an unclassified version of its annual report on UFOs, or unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), revealing that the office tracking UAPs has had a total of 510 sightings since 2004. This is significantly up from the 144 sightings included in the initial report in 2021.
According to the report, the 366 additional sightings were either new or discovered in existing files. An office within the Department of Defense has determined that about half of the additional sightings displayed “unremarkable characteristics.” 26 have been characterized as drones, 163 as balloon-like objects, and 6 as aerial clutter, leaving 171 unexplained.
The uptick in reported sightings is attributed in the ODNI report to a reduced stigma surrounding UAP sightings, as well as a better understanding of the potential threats UAPs pose as a hazard to flight safety or a possible adversary collection threat. The majority of the new reporting is from U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force aviators and operators who saw a UAP and reported it through official channels.
A U.S. official told CBS News that none of the incidents in the ODNI report have yet been definitively linked to China, Russia or any other country. However, at least one incident involving what turned out to be drones occurred off the West coast in 2019 at a time when Chinese merchant vessels were known to be in the area. U.S. intelligence was unable to directly link the drones to the vessels, but China remains a “suspect” in the case.
To date, there have been no reported collisions of U.S. aircraft with UAP nor have there been any UAP encounters that have contributed directly to adverse health-related effects. The ODNI report is a significant development in the ongoing investigation of UFOs and UAPs, and further analysis of the unexplained sightings is expected to be conducted in the coming months.