US Navy Releases Bizarre Timeline of American Warships Encountering ‘UAS Swarm’ Off California

A general view shows the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) anchored shortly after its arrival at the international port of Manila on May 31, 2013. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer is in Manila for a port call. Back in summer 2019, several US Navy vessels sailing in California’s Channel Islands were pursued by groups of unidentified aircraft (supposedly “drones” or “unmanned aerial vehicles”), prompting a media investigation and then a full-scaly Navy probe into the incident.Following months of uncertainty, the US Navy released a timeline of the incidents involving its warships and a swarm of what were believed to be drones or “unmanned aerial systems (UAS)”.The newly-released briefing slide appears to be an unredacted version of the earlier published document that provides some new details into the series of 2019 incidents, The Drive reported.Among these details is the timeline of mysterious events that have drawn major interest since 2020, when documentary filmmaker Dave Beaty first brought them to light, triggering further investigations first by media and then within the Navy.The timeline provides a detailed look into the drone “swarm” that took place on 17 July 2019, and involved the USS Paul Hamilton. The “drone” incident began at 2:56 a.m. (GMT), or 7:56 p.m. local time, with the destroyer turning off its Automatic Identification System (AIS) location broadcast some ten minutes earlier for unspecified reasons.First, the timeline indicates that a UAS was spotted at a distance of about one nautical mile. Twenty minutes later, two “drones” were seen, with one of them falling in the water; by 8:26 p.m. local time, multiple UAS were spotted, only for the number to evolve into a “UAS swarm” by 8:50 p.m. local time.The so-called “UAS swarm” appeared to have lasted for over two hours: from 7:56 p.m. local time until 10:39 p.m.© Photo : US NAVYThe briefing slide regarding the USS Paul Hamilton interactions with several unidentified aerial objects on July 17, 2019 The briefing slide regarding the USS Paul Hamilton interactions with several unidentified aerial objects on July 17, 2019 Aside from the timeline (that was released after a Freedom of Information Act request), the Navy also rolled out an image with an extremely low resolution, with practically no details discernible but three blurry points. The image, taken by an unspecified forward-looking infrared (FLIR) system, was described by the officials as the only “releasable” one related to the incident.The Drive suggested that both the briefing slide with the timeline and the image were a part of a broader investigation, and requested full documents, to which the Navy informed them that an internal search found “that no responsive records exist”.“The record previously provided to you in a separate request was titled ‘UAP Brief’ by the Command FOIA Coordinator for his own use to distinguish it as a PowerPoint slide. It is not part of a larger brief,” the Navy told the outlet in the response.The reporters noted several things in the short document release “standing out”. Among such things, The Drive outlined the fact that the timeline did not specify any countermeasures taken against the “drones” swarming the warships, and it also “remains unclear exactly how many contacts were detected”.Additionally, the contents of the timeline do not seem to resonate with the information provided in the corresponding deck logs that were earlier obtained by The Drive during its own investigation into the matter. Particularly, the outlet pointed at the fact that the complete log records for the evening of 16 July from the USS Paul Hamilton fail to show anything out of the ordinary. In some cases, the report suggested, the deck logs may have never been created in the first place.The USS Paul Hamilton is not the only vessel that had to deal with the so-called “drone swarm”. Earlier reports indicated that among the vessels present during the encounters were the USS Kidd, USS Rafael Peralta, USS Russell, USS John Finn. All of them are Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.Armada of Drones Sent to Spy on US Warships Off California and Navy Still Has No Clue Why6 April 2021, 13:42 GMTThe bizarre encounters have sowed serious concerns among the observers, who suggested that, if the “drones” were not operated by the American military, it would mean a serious security breach, particularly due to the sensitivity of the area where the incidents took place. Over the course of the years that have passed since the encounters, there were several suggestions, from the “swarm” being “some kind of covert action” to a foreign actor launching the drones to pursue the American warships.The Navy remains reticent with regard to the July 2019 incidents, with Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday only saying in April 2021 that the encounters were still “being analysed”, and the purported “UAVs” or “UASs” remained to be identified. There were no new findings officially confirmed by the Navy as of now.

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