Questions to the Australian Department of Defence
"Has the Australian Department of Defence any current guidelines concerning the reporting by Department of Defence personnel, of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena? If so, may I obtain a copy?"
"Defence does not have a protocol that covers recording or reporting of UFO sightings."
In June 2021, I submitted another series of question along the same lines, again through the media section, including:
"I am aware that the RAAF devoted resources in the time period 1951-1994 to the study of UAP. In the light of the above, is anyone in the Australian Department of Defence currently monitoring the subject of UAP?"
The response was:
"Defence does not have a protocol that covers recording or reporting of unidentified aerial phenomena/unidentified flying object sightings."
I then reasoned along the lines, if the DOD do not have a protocol for recording UAP/UFO what do they call an "unidentified object?" It seems to reason, that from time to time,the RAAF's sensors such as the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) would pick up an "unidentified object."
Several years ago, Melbourne based researcher Paul Dean undertook a search for the term that the DOD's RAAF used for an "unidentified object." In 2015 this search led him to the DOD releasing two documents under the FOIA.
(1) 41 Wing Standing Instruction (Operations) 3-19 Contact of Interest Reporting procedures.
(2) RAAF 41 Wing Standing Instruction (Operations) 3-15 Unauthorised Aircraft Movement Reporting and Investigation Process.
Surveillance and Response group
Under the RAAF's organisational chart, part of of the RAAF, is the "Surveillance and Response Group." This includes the Headquarters Surveillance and Response Group (RAAF Williamtown.) Here we find HQ No. 41 Wing; HQ No. 42 Wing, HQ No. 44 Wing and HQ No. 92 Wing.
HQ No. 41 Wing has under it:
* No. 1 Remote Sensing Unit (1RSU) (Edinburgh)
* No. 3 Control & Reporting Unit (3CRU) (Williamtown)
* No. 114 Mobile Control & Reporting Unit (114MCRU) (Darwin)
* Surveillance & Control Training Unit (Williamtown.)
No.1 RSU's roles is radar surveillance and space situational awareness via a range of sensors, including:
Contact of Interest
A "Contact of Interest" is defined in the first Standing Instruction above as:
"A Contact of Interest (COI) is defined as any track that matches or potentially matches current 41WG Tasking Intentions."
Unauthorised Aircraft Movement
In the second Standing Instruction above, there are two relevant definitions:
(10 UNK Unknown An evaluated track which has not been identified
(2) UAM Unauthorised Aircraft Movement An aircraft suspected of using Australian Airspace for illegal activity.
To be declared a UAM, a track must meet the following criteria:
"a. An IDENTIFIED track which deviates from published flight plans not due to weather, ATC or emergency, or
b. Identified as UNK by the active RCC after all local procedures to identify track have been exhausted; and
c. Be seen to, or suspected to have crossed the Australian FIR; and
d. Arrived or departed from an Australian airfield not controlled by Australian Customs."
Do any UAMs exhibit non-aircraft characteristics?
In order to answer the question, do any UAMs exhibit non-aircraft characteristics, i.e. could they be UAP? I submitted an FOIA request to the Department of Defence on 31 March 2022. My request was:
"I seek copies of documents dated between 25 June 2021 and 31 March 2022 relating to Unauthorised Aircraft Movements (UAM) which have been used to brief senior staff, including Chief of Air, Mel Hupfield where the UAM was either:
(a) labelled "unknown" after evaluation and/or
(b) behaved in a manner where its flight characteristics were outside of the parameters of conventional aircraft,/missiles/unmanned aerial systems.
For the purpose of this request I will define the words "senior staff" to mean.
1. Deputy Chief of Air Force - Air Vice-Marshal Stephen Meredith.
2. Head of Air Force Capability - Air Vice-Marshal Robert Denney.
3. Head of Air Command - Air-Vice Marshal Joe Lervasi.
4. Head of the Defence Space Division /Force - Air Vice-Marshal Catherine Roberts.
5. Chief of Air, Mel Hupfield."
I received a respons email on 16 June 2022, although the Statement of Reasons PDF was actually signed off on 19 May 2022. I extract relevant portions of the response
"DEFENCE FOI 439/21/22 STATEMENT OF REASONS UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT ...
5. In making my decision I had regard to...4) advice received from personnel within the Office of The Chief of Air Force Registry (OCAF Registry); Head Air Force Capability (HAC), Air Command Australia (ACA) and Air Force Headquarters (AFHQ)...
8. To ensure "all reasonable steps" have been taken to find the documents in this request, every reasonable avenue of locating the documents has been exhausted. OCAF Registry, HAC, ACA and AFHQ undertook electronic searches of the Defence records management system Objective, and Outlook for records in scope. The following criteria were used to search for documents but were advised by the areas no documents were found.
1) Name/contains/uam/dates/created 25 June 2021 to 31 March 2022
2) Name/contains/uams/dates/created 25 June 2021 to 31 March 2022
3) name/contains/uam's/dates/created 25 June 2021 to 31 March 2022
4) Name/contains/unauthorised aircraft movements/dates/created 25 June 2021 to 31 March 2022
5) Name/contains/unauthorised aircraft movement/dates/ created 25 June 2021 to 31 March 2022
6) Name/congtains/unauthorised aircraft/dates/created 25 June 2021 to 31 March 2022
7) Name/contains/unauthorised aircraft movement UAM/created from 25 June 2021
Based on the above actions, I am satisfied that "all reasonable steps" have been taken to locate the requested documents. "
In short, "No documents were identified as matching the description of the request."