Friday, May 11, 2012

UFO on radar? - new RAAF UFO file emerges

Hi all

RAAF file series J63, control symbol 5/51/Air barcode 1877393 was recently released to me by the National Archives of Australia.

The file (of 4 pages) is titled "Unidentified Flying Objects - Townsville Radar Area," and is dated from 1978. The front cover indicates that the file originated from headquarters RAAF base Townsville and was opened on 3 April 1978.

Page 2;

This is a "Priority" message form and is from  RAAF base Townsville to DEFAIR Canberra, and HQOC. The recipient in the Department of Air is the Directorate of Air Force Intelligence and the recipient in Headquarters Operations Command is the Command Intelligence Officer.

The subject line is "Unidentified Aircraft report." The text is in some kind of standardised format system and reads as follows:

"Ax HQTVL A018/HQ of 30 Mar 1978.
Bx   Summary of unidentified aircraft sightings in the Townsville area on 30 Mar 1978.

300201Z Townsville radar painted unidentified object bearing 085 deg M at 47NM. Estimated heading 300 deg M and speed 180-200 knots.

RAAF and civil ops had no known traffic in the area. Townsville customs were informed.

300217Z EDQ A Beach Barron Dep Townsville to intercept unknown aircraft.

300225Z Unidentified aircraft bearing 330 deg M at 38NM. EDQ bearing 340 deg at 39NM.

Page 3:

300235Z Paint faded with object bearing 325 deg M at 57NM. EDQ at this time was at 5000 ft and painting strongly, so it is assumed that the object aircraft was flying low level.

300725Z A second aircraft was painted on radar bearing 095degM at 35NM. Heading was towards Townsville and speed was estimated at 5miles/min.

300726Z Exc reported Townsville on an intercept course but sighted nothing.

300727Z Paint faded and lost at 20NM Townsville.

310221Z A further sighting was recorded position 070 deg M 38NM Townsville heading 340 deg speed 148kts.

310225Z Position 055 degM 42NM Townsville heading 010 deg.

310230Z Lost contact 045 deg M 50NM.

Page 4:

Cx The ABC evening news on 30 Mar reported that the sightings on the afternoon of the 30 Mar were two aircraft on a ferry flight from Honiarra to Sydney but the SOC DOT advised that there were three aircraft Nandi to Sydney but they were accounted for at the time.


This file is reminiscent of a series of RAAF files from Darwin, file series E12327/25 control symbol 5/4/Air, titled "Unusual sightings - incidents." These files list a mixture of what seem like observations of meteors; aircraft sightings, condensation trail sightings etc. The series seems a catch all for unusual sightings of all kinds, presumably kept to document any possible "foreign aircraft intrusions" in the north of Australia.

Folio 157 says "Memo HQOC to various units. “Whilst the investigation of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) is understandably a tedious one …it is nevertheless necessary to obtain as comprehensive a record as possible of such occurrences.”

Take a look at for more information about the Australian Government's UFO files.

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