The USS Gyatt took photographs of the radarscope during the 22
minutes that the target was detected. The scope photographs provided
bearing and range for both the bogey and the F-8C aircraft. Foreign
Technology Division (FTD) analyzed the photographs and concluded that
the target was traveling at subsonic speeds during the first 10 minutes
and that it then accelerated. They determined that the average speed
during the period of acceleration was 1,200 knots.
The Executive Officer of the Utility Squadron did not have a reasonable explanation for this target because the speed, acceleration, ceiling and ability to decelerate exceeded any aircraft that he ever seen or heard of. Nevertheless, he evaluated the target as a very high performance aircraft because it maneuvered as an aircraft and performed no unusual maneuvers except extreme acceleration and deceleration, plus a very steep climb angle in excess of 50,000 at high speed.
The author’s own evaluation of the radarscope data does not support the conclusion arrived at by FTD that the target was subsonic for the first ten minutes. The author’s analysis supports the original statements from the USS Gyatt: that the bogey was approaching the island at over Mach 1 speeds. The actual scope data (bearing and range) and my estimates of distance traveled and speed are shown on Table 7. My estimates indicate that the bogey was flying, most of the time, at supersonic speeds. It then quickly accelerated to about 1,500 mph, and then, after it lost its pursuer, it decelerated to about 260 mph.
Blue Book Conclusion: Aircraft