The Sheffield UFO Incident - Questions in the House

John Spellar [Under Secretary of State for Defence] eventually admitted that a number of military aircraft were booked to carry out low flying training in northern England on the evening of 24 March 1997. ”No reported sightings of “UFOs” on 24 or 25 March were received by my Department…..We have no record of sonic events being generated by RAF or NATO aircraft for the evening of 24 March 1997… It is not possible, twelve months after the case in question, to state precisely where military aircraft activity was being carried out. Records kept show only that aircraft were booked to carry out low-flying over the Peak District between 20:30 and 21:07 hours local time on the evening of 24th March 1997 [-Note that these times are before the reports of explosions and an aircraft coming down]. No low level flying is permitted over the Sheffield urban area, or any other major conurbation. Records of flying at medium level – between 2,000 and 24,000 ft – are not maintained so it is possible that there were aircraft in the area at medium level.

Eventually further pressure revealed that a number of Tornado GR1 and Jaguar aircraft were involved in the exercise with an RAF spokesman further commenting “….. We don't discount there may be unexplained phenomena in the sky, but we are not funded to investigate them. We would admit the fact if we had chased a UFO. There were no intercept missions that night. There is no cover-up. We don't know what caused the sightings and the sonic booms and the whole thing remains a mystery to us. We don't know what went on and there will always be people who seize on mysteries like this to make claims about cover-ups.” (Ref UK National Archives release DEFE 24 2076 1)

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