‘US firm Raytheon unveils its new anti-aircraft laser at the Farnborough Airshow in Hampshire, releasing a video of it shooting down an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at the US Navy test range on San Nicolas Island off the coast of California.’ (via BBC, 20/7/10).
Is that a black triangle they’re shooting down?! Clearly UAVs are now so plentiful that they’re blasting them out of the skies!
Not surprisingly, the region incorporating San Nicholas and nearby San Catalina islands has a long history of both UFO and USO (Unidentified Submarine Objects) sightings, most famously of the object photographed (above) by Rex Heflin on the coast near Santa Ana on 3 August 1965.
One photographic analyst claimed to have found evidence of a line above the object indicative of a string, and the evidence for a hoax is quite compelling, but the Heflin story (NICAP page) is nevertheless complex – involving apparent interference by the authorities – and worth exploring. This article (PDF) from the Journal of Scientific Exploration covers the case in great detail.
Thanks Ben Goldacre!
(Update: further evidence that Heflin was a hoaxer here)