Following the surprising revelation that the Pentagon has been secretly investigating reports of unidentified flying objects submitted by military personnel since 2007, the Department of Defense released footage from just such an encounter that took place a few years before the “Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program” was launched.

In 2004, Navy Commander David Fravor and Lt. Cmdr. Jim Slaight were flying a standard training mission off the coast of San Diego in their F/A-18F Super Hornets when they received a surprising call over the radio. According to Fravor’s account, which he relayed to the New York Times after they broke the story of the Defense Department’s UFO investigation arm, the call came from an Operations Officer aboard the nearby Navy cruiser, the USS Princeton; they wanted to know if the pilot’s aircraft were armed with air-to-air weapons systems.

Fravor explained that his Super Hornet was carrying only Two CATM-9s, which are dummy missiles used in training to approximate the changes in flight dynamics one can expect when carrying heavy munitions, but are not launchable.

“Well, we’ve got a real-world vector for you,” the radio operator said.

According to his account, the Princeton has been tracking unidentified aircraft that first appeared mysteriously at around 80,000 feet, before dropping down to around 20,000 feet and hovering. Soon thereafter, they lost tracking on radar, and asked the two pilots to intercept and investigate.

Soon the pilots reached what they referred to as a the “merge plot” with the unidentified objects, which means they were at the same point on the radar screen the objects had been, making the Super Hornets and the UFOs indistinguishable on radar. The pilots, however, didn’t see anything there. At least, at first.

According to Fravor, there, hovering only about 50 feet above the surface of the water, was a whitish craft, about 40 feet long and oval in shape. He recounts that the craft seemed to move around erratically and the water beneath it looked frothy, almost as though it was boiling the sea water beneath it. At that point, Fravor commenced a circular descent toward the craft, but as his plane approached, the craft began to ascend toward him, almost as though it was moving to meet him halfway – until, all of a sudden, it flew off in a burst of acceleration.

“It accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen,” he said in the interview. He was, he said, “pretty weirded out.”