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Alleged UFO or UAP, 1990, Calvine, Scotland

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Alleged UFO or UAP, 1990, Calvine, Scotland

Old 11th Feb 2022, 10:23
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About forty years ago I was told a tale by a military radar controller about “fast movers”. He was told to anticipate one and to disregard it. He was very much used to seeing high speed military aircraft pass across his radar screen and therefore wasn’t too surprised by the message.

However, in this case, he WAS surprised to see how fast the object in question passed across his screen. It appeared as just three “blips”, then was gone. He’d never seen anything moving anywhere near as fast as that before. But it was obviously known to the hierarchy.
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 09:37
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Mallet Blow 90/2

Hello.

Some new info has come to light that might be of interest/use.

As we know, the MoD has always denied having Harriers in Scotland at the time/day when the Calvine photo was allegedly taken. They might well be telling the truth, or they might be being a little pedantic due to official secrecy and the nature of parliamentary answers, e.g.

Q: "Can the Minister please say whether the RAF had Harriers near Calvine at 9pm on 4th August 1990?"
A: "No, we didn't." (Unsaid: We had Harriers near Calvine at 8.55pm, but you didn't ask that.)

Anyway, according to Hansard, between 30th July and 3rd August 1990 (the day before the Calvine sighting allegedly occurred), the low-flying exercise Mallet Blow 90/2 was undertaken in northern England and the Borders region of Scotland (which doesn't include Calvine, but it's reasonably close).
In the 18 Mallet Blow exercises from Mallet Blow 84/1 to Mallet Blow 89/2, Harriers were involved in every instance.
In Mallet Blow 89/2, a total of 193 Tornadoes, Jaguars, Harriers, F-111s, F-16s, and F-18s took part, so it was quite large.
And in Mallet Blow 90/1, aircraft flew from the following bases:

RAF Brize Norton
RAF Coltishall
RAF Coningsby
RAF Cottesmore
RAF Honington
RAF Leeming
RAF Leuchars
RAF Linton-on-Ouse
RAF Marham
RAF Waddington
RAF Wattisham
RAF Wittering
A & AEE Boscombe Down
RAF Alconbury
RAF Bentwaters
RAF Lakenheath
RAF Upper Heyford
RAF Bruggen
RAF Laarbruch
331W
RAF Gutersloh
GAF Büchel
GAF Bremgarten
GAF Leck
GAF Norvenich
NAEWF Geilenkirchen

A few thoughts/queries:

Q1. Do any old hands hence recall Mallet Blow 90/2 and the involvement of any Harriers, please?
Q2. During Mallet Blow exercises up to 90/2, night flying wasn't apparently permitted (11pm to 7am), and scheduled flying seemed to end 30 minutes after sunset. (Sunset on 4.8.1990 in Calvine was at 21:22, so in practical terms, was there enough time for a Harrier or two to be in the air at 9pm over Calvine and fly back to a nearby base by 21:52?)
Q3. If Mallet Blow 90/2 ended on Friday 3rd August 1990, might there have been any reason for a Harrier or two to just stay over in southern Scotland or northern England (at a base other than their home squadron base), and hence be in the air on Saturday 4th August?
Q4. Were exercises like Mallet Blow ever extended for 24 hours or into a weekend for any reason (bad weather, logistics, more practice requested)?

Thank you.

Last edited by Matthew Illsley; 2nd Mar 2022 at 09:49.
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 10:15
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This is a bit embarrassing, and will be a gift to our RN friends but it is hard to overstate how unusual fast jet weekend flying was then!
( Nimrods, yes, yes I know)

I’m sure that Harriers took part in that Mallet Blow.
I very much doubt that it was extended into a weekend.
Mallet Blow areas did not extend as far North as Calvine but a Harrier COULD have detached to Calvine but would have had to land at Leuchars / Lossiemouth thereby attracting attention.

In short, I don’t think this avenue of inquiry will help much.
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 10:31
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Much appreciated, Timelord. Cheers
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 10:44
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque
About forty years ago I was told a tale by a military radar controller about “fast movers”. He was told to anticipate one and to disregard it. He was very much used to seeing high speed military aircraft pass across his radar screen and therefore wasn’t too surprised by the message.

However, in this case, he WAS surprised to see how fast the object in question passed across his screen. It appeared as just three “blips”, then was gone. He’d never seen anything moving anywhere near as fast as that before. But it was obviously known to the hierarchy.

Hi! What parts of the UK the man saw that radar blimps? Was it regular route or unspecified or random one?
forty years gives it back to the 80's... was it just happening at the time or later as well?
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 10:55
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Hi Matthew,

I did send you a private message on here, check this out, please.
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 12:04
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Matthew, I used to shoot Mallet Blow for RAF Strilke Command, High Wycombe for years.
I have no photographic records of what aircraft were involved sadly.
They gave me 12 numbered rolls of B/W on arrival and I had to return 12 rolls at the end of each day.
Flying normally finished prior to sundown.
I never shot anything at weekends or was ever asked too.
I have no memory of any Harriers,which are very distinctive, but it was a long time ago.

Sorry !

El Grifo
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 12:32
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Originally Posted by SpeedFanatic
Hi Matthew,

I did send you a private message on here, check this out, please.
Originally Posted by El Grifo
Matthew, I used to shoot Mallet Blow for RAF Strilke Command, High Wycombe for years.
I have no photographic records of what aircraft were involved sadly.
They gave me 12 numbered rolls of B/W on arrival and I had to return 12 rolls at the end of each day.
Flying normally finished prior to sundown.
I never shot anything at weekends or was ever asked too.
I have no memory of any Harriers,which are very distinctive, but it was a long time ago.

Sorry !

El Grifo
Thanks, gents. All info is very much appreciated.
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 14:44
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Were not RAF Harriers eliminated from the the investigation by Ufologists following examination of the relevant ORBs at Kew?
https://www.uapmedia.uk/articles/calvineupdate
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 15:00
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Originally Posted by SpeedFanatic
Hi! What parts of the UK the man saw that radar blimps? Was it regular route or unspecified or random one?
forty years gives it back to the 80's... was it just happening at the time or later as well?
It was "blips", not blimps.

I assumed it occurred in W.Germany, at least that is where the controller told the story. It would have been somewhere between early 1981 to late 1983. I don't have any more detail because I didn't ask for any and in those days most things military were on a "need to know" basis.

But it does make me realise that certain unusual, very high performance aerial objects that might be otherwise described as "UFOs" were actually known about, at least by part of the military.
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 15:22
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Originally Posted by Ninthace
Were not RAF Harriers eliminated from the the investigation by Ufologists following examination of the relevant ORBs at Kew?
https://www.uapmedia.uk/articles/calvineupdate
Hi Ninthace. To my (admittedly imperfect) knowledge, the ORBs of Sqns 1, 3 and 4 don't show anything, nor do the Sea Harrier ORBs, but SAOEU is as yet unaccounted for.

Re: 233 OCU, due to the invasion of Kuwait, the ORBs mention many aircraft movements to and from OCU for Operation Granby prep, with Wittering mentioned. No smoking gun, though, date-wise as yet.
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 15:56
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Originally Posted by Matthew Illsley
Hi Ninthace. To my (admittedly imperfect) knowledge, the ORBs of Sqns 1, 3 and 4 don't show anything, nor do the Sea Harrier ORBs, but SAOEU is as yet unaccounted for.

Re: 233 OCU, due to the invasion of Kuwait, the ORBs mention many aircraft movements to and from OCU for Operation Granby prep, with Wittering mentioned. No smoking gun, though, date-wise as yet.
Iraq did not invade Kuwait until 2 Aug 90, Granby was a long way off. I would not even bother to pursue that idea
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 16:01
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Originally Posted by Beamr
I have no knowledge of this specific event, but in case of explaining a mach 2 target at 40k with a Harrier I'd google SR-71. Though it would be a bit slow and a tad low for the Blackbird
One of the military controllers at Northern Radar pointed out an SR71 to me one day in 1973. It would travel at 'normal' speed ie about 500kt then stop, then repeat. This was because they would climb vertically several times on departure and the blip stopping meant one of these vertical climbs (raw radar not MTI equipped.)
The same controller (same year) also pointed out a Phantom which was positioning to Leuchars fromm Coningsby. It headed up the Wash then turned north and the blips suddenly got wider and wider spaced as it went supersonic. I was told later they did brakes off to touchdown in 7 minutes.
Years later at Farnborough (late '90s) I often watched aircraft indicating FL660 appear from somewhere off the south coast heading just east of north and crossing high over Heathrow; I presume these were U2s.
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 16:02
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque
It was "blips", not blimps.

I assumed it occurred in W.Germany, at least that is where the controller told the story. It would have been somewhere between early 1981 to late 1983. I don't have any more detail because I didn't ask for any and in those days most things military were on a "need to know" basis.

But it does make me realise that certain unusual, very high performance aerial objects that might be otherwise described as "UFOs" were actually known about, at least by part of the military.
Of course the "high performance", high speed object could just be space debris or items being recovered from orbit which happened from 71-86
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 21:46
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Originally Posted by chevvron
Years later at Farnborough (late '90s) I often watched aircraft indicating FL660 appear from somewhere off the south coast heading just east of north and crossing high over Heathrow; I presume these were U2s.
What speed they were? Was it routine events?
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 21:52
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque
It was "blips", not blimps.

I assumed it occurred in W.Germany, at least that is where the controller told the story. It would have been somewhere between early 1981 to late 1983. I don't have any more detail because I didn't ask for any and in those days most things military were on a "need to know" basis.

But it does make me realise that certain unusual, very high performance aerial objects that might be otherwise described as "UFOs" were actually known about, at least by part of the military.
Can we rule out possibility of it being just the SR-71?
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 22:13
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Originally Posted by SpeedFanatic
Can we rule out possibility of it being just the SR-71?
How would we do that?
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 22:17
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque
How would we do that?
By a speed on the radar... I guess the only possibility.
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 22:24
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Hunters…

Sorry, late to the party here, but if the aircraft was a Hunter, nobody has mentioned FRADU Hunters from Yeovilton (that I’ve seen in this thread). I’ve definitely seen these fly at weekends during exercises. Probably not important, but just thought I’d throw it into the mix!
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Old 2nd Mar 2022, 22:24
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By a speed on the radar….
After 40 years?
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