Seen in The Daily Mail, 27 April 1998
24,000 mph UFO BUZZES BRITAIN
By David Derbyshire,
The RAF has tracked a UFO 'as big as a battleship' off the coast of Britain, military sources revealed yesterday. They said the massive craft was tracked flying in a zig-zag pattern at 17,000 mph over the North Sea. It then accelerated to 24,000 mph and zoomed off towards the Atlantic.
The Dutch air force also tracked the UFO, but two F-16 fighters scrambled to intercept the object were unable to keep up, it is claimed. RAF officials are said to be baffled by the object, spotted by the Ministry of Defence long-range listening station on Fylindales moor in North Yorkshire.
'It was definitely under control, judging by the various manoeuvres executed,' said a source. 'It appeared to be triangular and was around the size of a battleship (about 900 ft long).'
Radar records of the craft are due to be presented to science and military experts around the world, who will examine how to exploit space for military purposes at a conference at RAF College, Cranwell, Lincolnshire, in June. Other tapes of the UFO - thought to have been made during the last two years - are being withheld because they give too much information about the radar base's scanning ability.
However, military chiefs may release a second series of tapes, reported to show 12 UFOs changing shape in mid-flight.
While the 'battleship' UFO is most likely to be an experimental aircraft or a sighting caused by a freak weather effect, UFO watchers believe it is further evidence that the Earth is being visited by alien craft.
The popularity of TV series such as the X-Files has rekindled interest in flying saucers and conspiracy theories in recent years.
A spokesman for the Fortean Times, the journal devote to UFOs, psychic phenomena and the paranormal, said: 'The vast majority of strange objects seen in the sky have a more down-to-earth explanation. But most UFO investigators would be very interested in seeing these tapes'. The latest theory gaining popularity among some dedicated UFO watchers is that the military deliberately release stories about UFO's as a 'smokescreen' - and that witnesses are rally seeing top-secret experimental aircraft.
The base at RAF Fylingdales has been watching the skies since the end of the Cold War. A large pyramid-shaped, 360-degree radar has now replaced the gigantic landmark 'golf balls' tracking system.
The base has concentrated on tracking satellites and pieces of spacejunk circling the Earth.