Multiple U.S. Navy guided missile destroyers sailing off the coast of southern California reportedly encountered a mysterious fleet of drones in 2019.
Over the course of four nights in 2019, several unidentified drones swarmed U.S. Navy destroyers off the coast of California.
During the evening encounters, as many as six aircraft were reported swarming around the ships at once. The drones were described as flying for prolonged periods in low-visibility conditions, and performing brazen maneuvers over the Navy warships near a sensitive military training range less than 100 miles off Los Angeles
On the night of July 14, 2019, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Kidd, USS Rafael Peralta, and USS John Finn were sailing approximately 100 miles off the coast of Los Angeles when crew members sighted the strange craft.
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Ship logs indicate the USS Kidd spotted two “UAVs,” or unmanned aerial vehicles, and called out the ship’s Ship Nautical Or Otherwise Photographic Interpretation and Exploitation (SNOOPIE) team to investigate.
SNOOPIE teams are typically made up of sailors equipped with commercially available, consumer-grade cameras that take pictures of objects of interest and possible threats to the ship.
According to Kidd’s log, Peralta and Finn also called out their SNOOPIE teams, with Finn explicitly announcing it had spotted two UAVs. Kidd saw a red light and observed another visible white light above its helicopter flight deck.
On the next night, Peralta and another Burke-class destroyer, USS Russell, spotted the UAVs again. Two other destroyers, USS Pinckney and USS Paul Hamilton, were also in the area, but the ships didn’t observe the drones. Kidd recorded more sightings of the mysterious drones on July 25 and July 30.