Published: 3:51 PM 5/15/2023
excellent visibility conditions...
Mirage IV - UFO encounter, March 7, 1977: "I had the impression of a shape and an important mass behind us, much larger than my Mirage. When we landed at Luxeuil, we were shaken."Colonel René Giraud, French Air Force.
On March 7, 1977, at 08:34 pm, Major Rene Giraud had engaged the autopilot of a Mirage IV supersonic nuclear capable bomber with Captain Jean Paul Abraham as navigator. They were returning from a night navigation exercise to the Air Force base of Luxeuil, and were in the region of Chaumont in the department of Haute Marne, flying at an altitude of 9750 meters and a speed of Mach 0.9, under excellent visibility conditions.
They noticed a brilliant light coming towards their Mirage from their exact right and on a collision course with them, and first thought it may be a jet fighter, but when they radioed to the ground control at Contrexeville for reporting it and getting it identified, they learned that the ground radar showed nothing and that no other aircraft was known to be in that area. The ground controller asked them to check their oxygen, which indicates that he thought the pilots may be hallucinating.
The light appeared bigger and bigger as it approached their aircraft from their rear right. The pilot was flying at Mach 0.98 and made a turn to the right and then to the left to make sure the light was not a reflection of some sort on the cockpit. As he did these maneuvers, both of the crew could distinguish that the light was the front of a dark solid object.
Despite the evasive maneuver, the unidentified object managed to stay exactly behind them for a few seconds, a very dangerous situation if the unknown object were to be hostile. Then the object made a turn to the North-West at an estimated speed of Mach II, and went away to the left of the Mirage IV.
Giraud said later that though the object was away at that time, he felt like being observed, and told Abraham: "you'll see, it will come back."
About 45 seconds later, the unidentified flying object or another one exactly similar reappeared at the rear right of the Mirage, and Giraud performed a second time the evasive maneuver, banking even sharper to the right at 6.5G then again to the left, while the UFO also performed the same pass as the first one, and then sped away.
Ground control was still unable to detect anything on radar, and the Mirage then returned safely to the Air Force Base at Luxeuil.
Number 1 of the UFO special issues of the large audience French magazine VSD (www.vsd.fr) published an article about the case. The author has interviewed Rene Giraud who stated:
"That evening, in command of the Arbois bomber squadron, I have just carried out a night flight exercise on board a Mirage IV bomber with my navigator, Captain Jean-Paul Abraham. We returned to Luxeuil at an altitude of 9750 meters and at an approximate speed of 1000 kilometers per hour.
We are above Chaumont when a gleaming light arrives toward us. It is identical to the signalisation headlight of a Mirage III jet fighter. Does the controller radar of Contrexeville sleep? The object continues to approach, on the same level as us...
It's not normal, he should remain below. I warn the ground controller, but he says to me that there is absolutely nothing. And that thing approaches... It is not a plane, it is not a missile.
I gently start to turn to the right. And it remains inside my turn, stuck to my trajectory. At once, I bank sharply. This object is straight forwardly pacing us at less than 1 km in our back as taking position to shoot us down!
It flies much more quickly than me... And this will last 40 seconds! There is absolutely nothing I can do... I slow my turn down, and this thing leaves at an unbelievable speed! 30 seconds after I had taken the direction of the Air base again, I say to my navigator: "Careful, that thing will come back!...
I feel that I am being observed! I turn very sharply to the right after having put the engines at full thrust. The object plays the same game again. And there, it comes very near. I have an impression of a shape and large mass behind us, much larger than my Mirage. Jean-Paul tries to take photographs.
I slightly reverse my turn and the light goes again towards the West with a fantastic acceleration, producing some sort of a trail... When we landed at Luxeuil, we were shaken..."
Source: VSD Hors Série OVNIS N.1.
Internal discussion in the Air Forces about the incident made clear that the unidentified object could only have been supersonic, although no sonic boom was reported in the area at that time, that no other known traffic was in the area, and that it was highly anomalous that the UFO did not appear on the ground control radarscope.
All the radio conversations between the crew and ground control were recorded and kept for some time, which allowed a written transcript.
Giraud, who came out of the Air Force with the rank of Colonel, expressed himself publicly on several occasions, including on French national TV, about this experience. While not ready to speculate on the nature of the object, he made clear that the UFO performed active maneuvers in reaction to the presence of the Mirage, and reactive maneuvers when the Mirage IV took evasive action, as if an intelligence piloted it.
The case is listed in Dominique Weinstein's famous near air misses between aircraft and UFOs catalogue.
The case is listed among other aeronautical UFO encounters in the famous French COMETA report 1999, a report on UFOs by a group of former high ranking Air Force military, former experts of the French Defense institute, and others, intended to be read by the French President Jacques Chirac and his Prime Minister Lionel Jospin to alert them about the need for a serious consideration of Defense implications of the UFO phenomenon as a highly probable manifestation of extra-terrestrial presence.
French COMETA Report 1999