Rendlesham: New UFO files reveal role of specially appointed government officers

UFO files released by The National Archives reveal for the first time how specially-appointed government officers dealt with a number of sightings and information requests regarding the mysterious Rendlesham Forest incident in 1980.

The 25 files, which contain more than 6,700 pages concerning a number of incidents across the country, include details on the role of the UFO desk officers, what they really thought about the possibility of alien visits, their ideas to harness alien technology as a weapon, and their briefings to former Prime Minister Tony Blair on UFO policy.

Following sightings about the UFO incident in Rendlesham, a response from the Ministry of Defence states that it “knows of no evidence which substantiates the existence of these alleged phenomena. The MOD does not rely on people to inform us of UFO sightings for defence reasons, we have that strategy in place.”

There were a series of reported sightings of unexplained lights and an alleged landing of a craft in Rendlesham Forest in December 1980, just outside RAF Woodbridge, which was used at the time by the US Air Force.

It is among the best known UFO events in the world.

The duties of a UFO desk officer included briefings on the Ministry of Defence’s position on UFOs and extraterrestrial life, undertaking UFO investigations, handling hundreds of Freedom of Information requests, and managing UFOlogists (UFO ‘experts’) and press enquiries.

Among the files there is also a report of two USAF F-15 aircraft from RAF Lakenheath which spotted an object on radar while on a routine training flight.

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Correspondence from the MOD states: “The MOD does not investigate or seek to provide a precise explanation for each of the 200 to 300 ‘UFO’ reports we receive every year.

“We believe rational explanations could be found for most sightings if resources were devoted to doing so.”

Dr David Clarke, author of the book ‘The UFO files’ and a senior lecturer in journalism at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “These records allow us to look behind the scenes of what must have been one of the strangest jobs in Whitehall.”