There have been a lot of questions for almost three years about drones mysteriously surrounding U.S. Navy ships off the coast of California in 2019.
Now, the Navy has released documents that provide answers to the mystery of a swarm of drones circling U.S. ships. These documents have been obtained by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requested by The Drive. They published the results and they revealed that the likely causes of these various encounters between U.S. Navy ships and drones in 2019 were a combination of local fishermen operating personal quadcopter-style drones, and intelligence “collection operations” whose operators still have not been identified.
According to The American Military News, “Multiple drones flew over the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG-52) the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Bunker Hill (DDG USS Kidd (DDG-100), USS Rafael Peralta (DDG-115), USS John Finn (DDG-113), USS Russell (DDG-59) and USS Paul Hamilton (DDG-60) on multiple separate nights in July of 2019.”
There were more encounters in July of 2019 that involved two more combat ships.
Questions around these mysterious swarms of drones went further than one might assume. A photo was taken that showed a triangular flying object. Some question whether this could have been unidentified flying objects (UFOs). There was even a congressional hearing on the matter.
Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray said the government had concluded that the object was human-made and it was an unmanned aerial system. The triangular shape was an illusion that was caused by light passing through the night vision goggles and being recorded on the SLR camera.
Even when it was decided that the drones were not UFOs, questions persisted about who was operating them.
The Drive investigated more and found that swarms of drones had surrounded ships in the spring of 2019 as well. One encounter had drones circling the amphibious landing ship dock USS Harpers Ferry (LSD-49) on March 30. And another encounter was recorded on the advanced Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) on April 24, 2019.
Most of the drone encounters could be traced to local fishing vessels that operated a quadcopter.
But according to The Drive, there is a public affairs statement that indicates the drones swarming the USS Harpers Ferry in March of 2019 were thought to be “conducting collection operations” on the U.S. ship.
The statement did not give any potential enemies as the operators, but there was suspected intelligence collection against the U.S. ship. The Navy does not have any more details about the swarms of drones over the USS Zumwalt that happened a month later.
Regarding the swarm of drones on July 14 and 15, 2019, there were 11 drones counted around the USS Bunker Hill. The Navy has videos of the drones hovering around a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship called the MV Bass Strait. But even after that ship left the area, there were still drone encounters.
But the Navy has decided that the drone swarms were connected to the commercial cargo ship and they were probably conducting surveillance on Navy warships.
When the Hong-Kong based company was asked by The Drive for a response, they did not reply with a comment.
So the encounters that happened in 2019 with Navy ships are still a mystery. And no one knows for sure exactly who the culprits are operating them.
Maybe the answer lies in the hands of one of our highly trained sharpshooters.