A team of ufo hunters could be relaunched by the Government to monitor the skies over Britain in the wake of a report by the US into extra-terrestrial life, a source has said.
The now-defunct Ministry of Defence division, which was axed in 2009 after nearly 60 years of official research and investigations, could once again relaunch depending on the findings of a looming Pentagon report into UFOs.
The report from the Director of National Intelligence will be sent to the US Congress next month, with an unclassified version being made available to the public.
Pentagon officials have made clear that their real interest is in whether UFOs, or unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), could represent actual threats here on earth.
The release of the report could now pave the way for the Ministry of Defence’s UFO desk to be revived.
A source told The Telegraph: ‘I think that if there was enough evidence to suggest that there was something, and that we needed to do it as well as the US, then of course we’d think about it. We’d look at it.
‘There’s all sorts of things that we wouldn’t rule out, and this would certainly be one of them.’
Last August, the Pentagon formed a task force ‘to detect, analyse and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to US national security.’
However an official said that many UFO sightings could be everyday objects that increasingly clutter air space such as weather balloons, metallic party balloons and amateur and professional drones.
They also said that sightings could also be of the Pentagon’s own highly classified experiments and prototypes.
Sue Gough, a Department of Defense spokesperson, said: ‘The Department of Defense takes reports of incursions into our airspace – by any aircraft, identified or unidentified – very seriously, and investigates each one.
‘As we collect additional data, we expect to close the gap between identified and unidentified and avoid strategic surprise regarding adversary technology.’
Meanwhile Luis Elizondo, the former Director of Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program at the Pentagon, said on the ABC News program ‘This Week’ that some of the objects that have been sighted ‘can outperform anything that we have in our inventory.’
He said: ‘We know that whatever it is in our skies is real. The question is, what is it? ‘The bottom line is, we simply don’t know.’
Mr Elizondo added that while he hoped the report would give Congress what it needed, 180 days to produce the detailed report was not enough time.
He told CNN: ‘I hope the report gives Congress what it asked for and also what it deserves and that is a current assessment of the situation.
‘My only concern in 180 days is not a sufficient amount of time to provide a comprehensive report.
‘When I was working at the Pentagon we did this for nearly a decade and there is a lot of information to go through.
‘My fear is 180 days is not going to be long enough to provide that comprehensive report to Congress.’
This month, defence minister Baroness Goldie said the UK ‘does not have a role’ in the US’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force bit had been made ‘aware’ of the approaching report.
In 2016, Nick Pope, who headed the now-defunct Ministry of Defence division for UFOs from 1991-1994, said that of the 12,000 sightings that the programme investigated, approximately 5 per cent remained unexplained.
The former investigator said in 1980 the department were alerted to a UFO close to the Bentwaters and Woodbridge airbases.
The team later concluded that radiation levels at the site had been ‘significantly higher than the average background’.
Meanwhile in 1993, multiple sightings of a UFO were reported over a period of six hours overnight in Cosford, Shropshire.
However in 2016, the team were disbanded amid a series of financial cuts and a statement released by the department explained that the MoD ‘had no opinion on the existence or otherwise of extra-terrestrial life.’
The statement read: ‘The MOD has no opinion on the existence or otherwise of extraterrestrial life. However, in over fifty years, no UFO report has revealed any evidence of a potential threat to the United Kingdom.’
Following the move, Mr Pope criticised the decision to close the department without a public consultation.
He told The Sun: ‘We’re leaving ourselves wide open to terrorist attack.’
The investigator added: ‘There has been no announcement in Parliament and no public consultation.’
In 2019, it was revealed that NASA would scan hundreds of the nearest exoplanets in search for alien life.
The American agency announced a new partnership with SETI scientists leading the $100 million Breakthrough Listen project and said it would identify anomalies in the stellar ‘light curves’ and listen for ‘technosignatures’.
Dr. S. Pete Worden, Executive Director of the Breakthrough Initiatives, said at the time: ‘It’s exciting that the world’s most powerful SETI search, with our partner facilities across the globe, will be collaborating with the TESS team and our most capable planet-hunting machine.
‘We’re looking forward to working together as we try to answer one of the most profound questions about our place in the Universe: Are we alone?’