Internal military correspondence.
Brasília-DF, June 2, 1986
From: COMDA Commander / NuCOMDABRA
To: ExmB Sr Commander of the General Air Command
Subject: Occurrence Report
Ref: Note N9 C QQ2 / MIM / ADM, of 13 Apr 78
Annex: 01 (one) Report
I – INTRODUCTION
The purpose of the this report is to inform the authorities of the Ministry of Aeronautics, especially to the Honorable Minister, of the events that took place on the night of May 19, 1986, with regard to the information of the Air Traffic Control and Air Defense Bodies, as well as interceptor pilots involved in the events.
Due to the limitations of time and specialized knowledge in facts of this nature, this Command was well advised, within the operational sphere, to limit itself to the simple narration of the facts, so as not to give rise to speculations involving the Ministry of Aeronautics.
II – Initial considerations
The Brazilian Aerospace Defense System with regard to the RDAl, so far has radar-based detention equipment whose primary purpose is intended for air traffic control, and is therefore not specific for use in Air Defense.
Its technical limitations make the surveillance of the Airspace deficient in relation to the detection of targets, whose initialization is done in a normal way, that is, the interference of the controller is necessary constantly, in order to maintain the radar contact visualized for periods in which it is thorough evaluation is possible. As a consequence, the monitoring of the movements detected at the time was severely impaired, due to the fact that we were unable to maintain the visualization, even with the work of the controllers, as the contacts obtained were not strong enough to form an initialization work.
The information transmitted to the pilots by the Military Operations Center, was made through the evaluation and experience of the Air Defense Controllers, until the onboard equipment offered conditions to the pilots to continue in the interceptions.
Regarding the interceptions carried out in the Anápolis area, at some point contacts were obtained through the radar of the DACTA network (LP-23 DPV-DT 61) and the vectors were only possible due to the detections made by the area radar of the Air Base of Annapolis.
III – Description of the Facts
In this part, all the facts will be described in chronological order, with measures adopted by the Air Defense Air Command.
- 11:15pm [MAY 19] – The Brasília Area Control Center informs COpM1 that the operator of the São José dos Campos Control Tower had seen lights moving over the city. The lights, although predominantly red, showed changes to yellow, green and orange. The TWR-SJ operator simultaneously informs APP-SP, which confirms the contacts to be in the São José dos Campos area.
- 00: 08Z – [MAY 20] – The PT-MBZ pilot sees lights on the radial 150 of the São José dos Campos VOR, moving from East to West. The lights, according to the pilot’s own information, looked like big, red stars. The pilot, on his own initiative, made an observation of these lights and was unable to approach them.
- 00: 41Z – The COpM Alert Officer was called.
- 00: 23Z – The Alert Officer at the Air Defense Operations Center (CODA) was called.
- 00: 39Z – As determined by the Chief of CODA, the alert aircraft of the Santa Cruz Air Base was activated. The determination to activate the aircraft was due to the radar detection of some “PLOTS”, in the São José dos Campos area. Such detections, although not constituted in defined radar echoes, were used in the vectoring of the intercepting aircraft in order to position the vectors, so that they would be able to continue in the interception, using the on-board radar.
- 01: 10Z – APP-AN reports that it is detecting some echoes on its radar. The Radar echoes reported by the APP-AN were not being viewed by the COpM equipment.
- 01: 11Z – Anápolis Air Base alert triggered. This activation, determined by CODA, took place due to the information from the APP-AN operator about the permanence of the Radar echoes, with definitions of bow and speed.
- 01: 18Z CODA requests the Santa Cruz Air Base to activate two more airplanes on alert. This request was made, taking into account that only one aircraft remains at the disposal of the Air Defense Command for eventual activations, and the possible permanence in flight of this aircraft for a longer time than its autonomy, which later happened, causing the its collection, being replaced by another vector.
- 01: 32Z – Takeoff of the first aircraft from the Santa Cruz Air Base. From this moment on, after the necessary transfers of control, the Military Operations Center began to vector the referred aircraft for sector W, where some Radar echoes were obtained in the São José dos Campos area. The pilot of the aircraft informed when stabilized in the FL 170 that he is seeing a white light below his level and that later it was rising, remaining 10° above his aircraft. The monitoring was carried out until FL 330. He also informed that for a moment the light changed from white to prevailing this color. During the follow-up, he obtained contact with the on-board equipment that indicated he was between 10 and 12 miles away, confirming visual contact. The monitoring took place towards the sea until approximately 180 miles from Santa Cruz, when the abandonment was made due to the positive approach of the lights and because it was close to the Minimum Fuel for Abandonment (CMA).
- 01: 48Z – Takeoff of the Anápolis Air Base Alert Aircraft. After the necessary transfers of control, the aircraft was vectored to a point, whose detection was being made by the APP-AN radar, which transmitted the information to the COpM which transmitted it to the pilot. This procedure was adopted, as no echo radar was being seen on the COpM equipment. The pilot made five presentations, obtaining contact and acquisition with his on-board radar, but not obtaining any visual contact. From all presentations, he arrived at 2 miles from the radar contact once, whose trajectory was sometimes in a zigzag, sometimes in a sharp curve on the right. Its speed varied in order to allow an approach as it also moved away suddenly, even though the interceptor was at supersonic speed, which caused the loss of contact, and the chase was then abandoned.
- 01: 50Z – Takeoff of the second aircraft from the Santa Cruz Air Base. After normal control procedures, the aircraft was vectored to the same area south of São José dos Campos. The pilot reported seeing a red light at the position informed by the COpM, thus confirming the ground radar detection. After a few minutes, he found that the light was not approaching and that it then went out, at the same time that radar contact was lost. A striking fact during this vectoring was the appearance for a moment of thirteen “plots” at the tail [behind] of the aircraft, which was commanded a 180° curve, however having not obtained any visual or on-board radar contact.
- 02: 17Z – Takeoff of the second aircraft from Anápolis Air Base. This aircraft did not obtain any kind of visual contact or radar.
- 02: 36Z – Takeoff of the third aircraft from Anápolis Air Base. Also, following the example of the second, he did not get any contact.
- 02: 37Z – Landing of the first BASC aircraft;
- 02: 46Z – Landing of the first BAAN aircraft;
- 03: 05Z – Landing of the second BASC aircraft;
- 03: 07Z – Landing of the second BAAN aircraft;
- 03: 30Z – Landing of the third BAAN aircraft;
All withdrawals and landings were carried out normally.
IV – Final Considerations
1 – From the analysis of the events, this Command is of the opinion, according to the information from the controllers, pilots and reports previously prepared by the I CINDACTA, that some points are coincident with respect to the radar echo, acceleration, lighting, speeds and behavior , both by technical detection and visualization.
2 – Some that we can mention are the phenomena that present certain constant characteristics, namely:
a) produce radar echoes not only from the Air Defense System, but also from intercepting aircraft simultaneously, with visual comparison.
b) They vary their speeds from the subsonic to the supersonic range, as well as remain in hover flight.
c) They vary their altitudes below FL-050 to altitudes higher than FL-400.
d) Sometimes they are visualized due to the lights of white, green, red colors, other times there is no luminous indication.
e) They have the ability to accelerate and decelerate abruptly.
f) Ability to make curves with constant radii and other times with indefinite radii.
3 – As a conclusion of the constant facts observed, in almost all presentations, this Command is of the opinion that the phenomena are solid and reflect, in a certain way, intelligence, due to the ability to follow and keep distance from observers as well as flying in formation, not necessarily manned.
4- Timely, it is worth mentioning the efficiency of the Aerial Unities engaged in the operation, because according to the plan, each of these units maintains an alert aircraft at 45 minutes and with less than 30 minutes after activation, 7 (seven) vectors armed forces were available for employment. / Brigadier JPCA / COMDA Commander / NuCOMDABRA
Cf. ARQUIVO NACIONAL (Brasil). Sistema de Informações do Arquivo Nacional (SIAN). Fundo ‘Objeto Voador Não Identificado (OVNI)’. Código de Referência BR DFANBSB ARX.0.0.249. “Relatório de Ocorrência”. Brasília, DF. 1952 a 2015. Último acesso realizado em 27/05/2020.
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