It is probably the closest Australia has come to scrambling fighter jets to intercept a UFO.
Documents that have just become available under the 30-year rule at the National Archives of Australia reveal how two RAAF Mirage jets were placed on the second highest level of alert to determine the cause of unidentified radar contacts seen on screens at Mascot.
The ”X Files” viewed in Canberra also give details of other unexplained sightings, some of which are supported by witness statements to police.
In the Sydney alert, the papers stamped ”restricted” tell how operation ”Close Encounter” was launched by No.3 Control and Reporting Unit at RAAF Base Williamtown near Newcastle on June 30, 1983, after the phenomenon was first noticed earlier in the month.
Mysterious ... a colour-enhanced photo of a UFO seen from Bendigo. One caller dismissed it as a rock band’s laser show. Photo: National Archives of Australia
Senior air controllers at Mascot said the contacts were mostly located between 70 and 150 nautical miles north of Sydney at ”alleged speeds of 1100-6500 km/h that suggested high altitude”.
The papers state that no scramble was to occur in the round-the-clock operation unless confirmation of any reported tracks was made on the radar screens at RAAF Williamtown or any radar other than Sydney.
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