London, May 15-(Reuters)-Mysterious objects sighted over the English Channel on April 29 turned out to be two of a large number of British Hunter jet fighters on a training exercise, Air Secretary George Ward said today.
The objects aroused wide speculation at the time and Royal Air Force Javelin fighters went up to chase them. But they outstripped the Javelins.
Questioned in the House of Commons today, Ward said that the Hunters' movements, as observed by radar, were somewhat unusual and aroused the suspicions of the Radar Defense.
Patrick Wall, conservative, asked the whether it was true that the Hunters were travelling at 1,000 miles an hour as reported.
Ward said: "I can assure you that the speeds of the objects as tracked on the radar were nothing like as fast as reported in the press."
He added that five flying objects reported this year were as yet unidentified compared with six last year.
(Above courtesy British Information Service, D. C.)
Following information from British Military ???? Attache:
Hunter jet fighters are supersonic; in a shallow dive or so could probably reach 800-900 miles per hour.
Javelins run up to around .9 Mach (actual speed in mph would depend on altitude, then, but it would appear in this case around 650 mph).
His suggestions on the case indicate that the radar operators et al are not advised of such flights; the flight plans are not prepared in advance; pilots do not necessary stick to their flight orders and plant too rigidly and may not know it when off course; at that speed they cover so much area so quickly it could cause quite a bit of unusual activity.
He added also there is a strong possibility the radar operator is inexperienced and "doesn't know how to handle his damn set."
He further added re NICAP, "You fellows seem to take this thing seriously." When pursued re UFO he said he didn't think there was anything to it; just a hell of a lot of nonsense. Advised he had been transferred here from Intelligence where he had been working on just this sort of thing.