'UFO Witness': What is the 'Tic Tac' and why did fighter pilot say it committed an 'act of war'?
Pilot Chad Underwood went after the object and aimed his radar at it - but the radar got jammed
In 2017, there was extensive media coverage of the Pentagon having three recordings of unidentified flying objects that were filmed from the cockpits of United States Navy fighter jets aboard aircraft carriers USS Nimitz and USS Theodore. The recordings were filmed in 2004, 2015, and 2015, and the three grainy, black and white videos were characterized by the US Department of Defense as "unidentified". The videos were declassified and released to the public in 2020.
The mysterious videos are the subject of the first episode of new Discovery+ series 'UFO Witness', which features Ben Hansen, a former federal agent and paranormal investigator, working with Project Blue Book investigator, Jennie Zeidman, to reopen case files of some of the most astounding UFO encounters in history, files that have been hidden from the public for decades.
The synopsis for the first episode states, "In 2017, the Pentagon leaked three videos showing wild military encounters with UFOs. All three had an object resembling a “tic tac.” But this is not the first reported UFO encounter regarding an object of this shape. In 1973, a National Guard helicopter nearly collided with an object as well, but the government worked to hide or destroy all evidence of the encounter. And with “Tic Tac” shaped cases still being reported today, Ben Hansen must dig deep into the records to figure out what these objects are and whether or not we’re dealing with technology from out of this world."
What is 'Tic Tac' UFO?
The first video was recorded by Lieutenant Commander Chad Underwood, who took off from the Nimitz after his commanding officer, David Fravor of the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, investigated radar indications of a possible target off the coast of Southern California. Underwood's fighter was equipped with an advanced infrared camera, which he used to record the video. The objects were suspicious, moving at an elevation of 28,000 feet and at 138 miles per hour - too high to be birds and too slow to be a conventional aircraft.
Underwood spoke to New York Magazine in 2019 and recollected what happened -- he was the one who coined the term "Tic Tac". He said, "That day, Dave Fravor was like, ‘Hey, dude. BOLO.’ Like, be on the lookout for just something weird. I can’t remember the exact terms that he used. I didn’t really think much about it at the time. But once I was able to acquire it on the radar and on the FLIR [forward-looking infrared camera], that’s kind of where things -- I wouldn’t say ‘went sideways’ -- but things were just different.” According to the publication, Fravor told ABC News that "it was really impressive, really fast, and I would like to fly it.”
Underwood told the magazine that the object was "erratic" in its behavior in that its changes in altitude, airspeed, and aspect were "just unlike things that I’ve ever encountered before flying against other air targets." He continued that it was behaving in "ways that aren't physically normal" and that the Tic Tac was not obeying the laws of physics. Underwood said, "It was going from like 50,000 feet to, you know, a hundred feet in like seconds, which is not possible."
Why does Fravor think the Tic Tac committed an "act of war"?
In September 2020, David Fravor recalled the incident in a podcast with MIT research scientist Lex Fridman. "This is not like, 'we saw it and it was gone', or 'I saw lights in the sky and it's gone' – we watched this thing on a crystal clear day with four trained observers,"
When Fravor told Underwood, who went after the object, the latter aimed his radar at it -- but the radar got jammed. Fravor recalled, "He's telling the radar, 'Stare down the line of sight, whatever is there I want you to grab it and build a trace file on it,' which will tell you where it is, how fast it is, and the direction that it's going."
He continued, "The radar is smart enough that when the signal comes back if it's been messed with, it will tell you – it will give you indications that it's being jammed... It's being jammed into about every mode you can see. You can tell it's being jammed."
Fravor concluded by saying, "When you actively jam another platform, that's technically an act of war."
'UFO Witness' premieres on Discovery+ on Thursday, January 14 with the first three episodes.