The Pentagon has released three declassified videos taken by US Navy pilots that appear to show unidentified flying objects (UFO).

The black and white videos were recorded during training flights – one in November 2004 and two in January 2015 – and later leaked to the public, the Department of Defense said in a statement on Monday.

In the footage, which the Navy confirmed as genuine in September of last year, the UFOs are picked up by infrared cameras and can be seen moving at pace across the sky or rotating mid-air.

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The videos were released to “to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real or whether or not there is more to the videos,” the Pentagon said.

“After a thorough review, the department has determined that the authorized release of these unclassified videos does not reveal any sensitive capabilities or systems, and does not impinge on any subsequent investigations of military air space incursions by unidentified aerial phenomena.”

The 2004 video was filmed 100 miles out in the Pacific and the other two were on the US east coast, according to reports.

In one of the 2015 videos, a voice can be heard saying: “There’s a whole fleet of them.”

Another voice adds: “They’re all going against the wind. The wind’s 120 knots to the west. Look at that thing, dude!”

The videos had been “circulating in the public domain after unauthorized releases in 2007 and 2017”, Pentagon said, adding that “the aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as ‘unidentified’”.

One of the pilots who saw the unidentified objects in 2004 later said that it moved in ways he could not explain.

“As I got close to it ... it rapidly accelerated to the south, and disappeared in less than two seconds,” retired US Navy pilot David Fravor told CNN in 2017. “This was extremely abrupt, like a ping pong ball, bouncing off a wall. It would hit and go the other way.”

Two of the videos were published by the New York Times in 2017. The third was released by To The Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences, a media and private science company co-founded by former Blink-182 musician Tom DeLonge.

The episodes saw the Navy later release formal guidelines on how pilots should report experiences with “unidentified aerial phenomena”. In 2019, the Navy confirmed an increase in UFO sightings.

Former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, who helped steer funding towards a Pentagon programme which studied UFOs between 2007 and 2012, tweeted that the three videos “only scratches the surface of research and materials available”.

“The US needs to take a serious, scientific look at this and any potential national security implications,” he said. “The American people deserve to be informed.”

President Donald Trump has said that he has previously been briefed on the videos, but does not buy the hype. “People are saying they’re seeing UFOs,” he said in 2019. “Do I believe it? Not particularly.”

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