Drones that swarmed U.S. warships are still unidentified, Navy chief says

Drones that hovered around U.S. destroyers for hours off the California coast remain unidentified more than a year and a half after the episode, the Navy’s top officer says.

Adm. Michael Gilday, chief of naval operations, spoke about the July 2019 flights Monday at a Defense Writers Group event in Washington. Gilday said the incident — and other similar sightings — were still being assessed.

Asked if the Navy had identified the drones that flew near U.S. warships near the Channel Islands off Southern California, Gilday said: “No, we have not.”

“I am aware of those sightings, and as it’s been reported, there have been other sightings by aviators in the air and by other ships not only of the United States, but other nations — and of course other elements within the U.S. joint force,” Gilday said.

“Those findings have been collected and they still are being analyzed,” he said.

The admiral said there is “a well-established process in place across the joint force to collect that data and to get it to a separate repository for analysis.”

Gilday appeared to be referring to a pending report requested by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has asked the director of national intelligence, in consultation with the Defense Department, to provide a report by June 25 on unexplained sightings of advanced aircraft and drones documented by the military. The report is supposed to examine whether foreign adversaries are behind the unidentified aircraft.

Asked if the aircraft were…

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