|On the night of May 20, 1957, Lieutenant Milton Torres, an American jet fighter pilot based in Britain, was given the order to scramble his jet and the chilling instruction to, “Arm all weapons and fire on sight.”
As soon as he scrambled his Sabre Jet from RAF Manston in Kent, and headed eastwards, he saw the blip on his radar, indicating the presence of an aircraft the size of a B-52 about 15 miles away, and he prepared to close on it with a salvo of rockets. But the aircraft, judged to be hostile and probably Russian, simply vanished. The blip on the radar disappeared.
The 24-year-old American pilot was officially ordered never to reveal details of the experience to anyone. The event has come to light after the declassification of another batch of UK Ministry of Defence files relating to reported incidents of unidentified flying objects appearing in British airspace - in this case, the example of a jet fighter pilot being ordered to shoot down a UFO.
Mr Torres, now aged 77 and a retired Professor of civil engineering living in Miami, stated that the day after he was scrambled from RAF Manston in 1957, he received a visit from an American in a trenchcoat who waved a National Security Agency identity card at him and warned him that, if he ever revealed what had happened, he would never fly again.
He took the warning to heart and said nothing until 1988 when, through a solicitor with an interest in ufology, he sent the Ministry of Defence a report giving a full account of the incident. His narrative has now been released by the UK National archives.
He stated, “I shall never forget it, and for the last 50 years I have been waiting for an explanation, but I've never had one. On that night, I was ordered to open fire even before I had taken off. That had never happened before. I was ready to hit the target with all 24 rockets - it would have been like buckshot out of a shot gun. I asked for authentication of the order to fire, and I received it.”
Neither Lt Torres nor his wingman, flying another Sabre behind him, actually saw what was making the strong blip on the radar. In the years since, he has become more convinced that the object, travelling at speed and performing manoeuvres beyond the capability of any known aircraft at that time, was an alien UFO.
The airman climbed to 32,000 feet and then flattened out, travelling at Mach 0.92, about as fast as the F86D Sabre could go. “The blip was burning a hole in the radar with its incredible intensity. It was similar to a blip I had received from B-52 and seemed to be a magnet of light. It had the proportions of a flying aircraft carrier,” he wrote.
A possible explanation is that in the 1960s, it emerged that the CIA had been engaged in a secret project codenamed ‘Palladium’, in which advanced equipment was used to create simulated radar blips close to Soviet airspace. However this does not explain why Lt. Torres was scrambled and ordered to open fire.
Source: Michael Evans, Defence Editor, The Times.