Go Back Report # 1077

09-19~20-1952        U.S.S. Franklin D. Roosevelt – Operation Mainbrace          

The Mainbrace Sightings
Sept. 1952

Capt. Ed Ruppelt:

"It was these sightings, I was told by an RAF exchange intelligence officer in the Pentagon that caused the RAF to officially recognize the UFO."         

Ruppelt's account:     

In late September 1952, the NATO naval forces had held maneuvers off the coast of Europe; they were called Operation Mainbrace. Before they had started, someone in the Pentagon had half seriously mentioned that Naval Intelligence should keep an eye open for UFO's, but no one really expected the UFO's to show up. Nevertheless, once again the UFO's were their old unpredictable selves - they were there.         

On September 20, a U.S. newspaper reporter aboard an aircraft carrier [This was the U.S.S. Franklin D. Roosevelt.-CF-] in the North Sea was photographing a carrier take-off in color when he happened to look back down the flight deck and saw a group of pilots and flight deck crew watching something in the sky. He went back to look and there was a silver sphere moving across the sky just behind the fleet of ships. The object appeared to be large, plenty large enough to show up in a photo, so the reporter shot several pictures. They were developed right away and turned out to be excellent. He had gotten the superstructure of the carrier in each one and, judging by the size of the object in each successive photo, one could see that it was moving rapidly.    

The intelligence officers aboard the carrier studied the photos. The object looked like a balloon. From its size it was apparent that if it were a balloon, it would have been launched from one of the ships, so the word went out on the TBS radio: "Who launched a balloon?"        

The answer came back on the TBS: "Nobody."           

Naval Intelligence double-checked, triple-checked and quadruple-checked every ship near the carrier, but they could find no one who had launched the UFO.         

We kept after the Navy. The pilots and the flight deck crew who saw the UFO had mixed feelings - some were sure that the UFO was a balloon while others were just as sure that it couldn't have been. It was traveling too fast, and although it resembled a balloon in some ways, it was far from being identical to the hundreds of balloons that the crew had seen the aerologists launch.     

We probably wouldn't have tried so hard to get a definite answer to the Mainbrace photos if it hadn't been for the events that took place during the rest of the operation, I explained to the group of ADC officers. 

The day after the photos had been taken, six RAF pilots flying a formation of jet fighters over the North Sea saw something coming from the direction of the Mainbrace fleet. It was a shiny, spherical object, and they couldn't recognize it as anything "friendly" so they took after it. But in a minute or two they lost it. When they neared their base, one of the pilots looked back and saw that the UFO was now following him. He turned but the UFO also turned, and again it outdistanced the Meteor in a matter of minutes.        

Then on the third consecutive day, a UFO showed up near the fleet, this time over Topcliffe Aerodrome in England. A pilot in a Meteor was scrambled and managed to get his jet fairly close to the UFO, close enough to see that the object was "round, silvery, and white" and seemed to "rotate around its vertical axis and sort of wobble." But before he could close in to get a really good look, it was gone.

(This web page created by Francis Ridge for the NICAP InterLink: UFO web site)                  

This reference: Report on Unidentified Flying Objects by Edward Ruppelt, p. 257, © 1956.

From: http://www.nicap.org/brace.htm          

UFOCAT PRN – 18349 [DOS: 09-19-1952]

UFOCAT URN – 018347 James E. McDonald investigation files

UFOCAT URN – 018348 Condon Committee investigation files

UFOCAT URN – 018349 NICAP investigation files

UFOCAT URN – 060736 Les Apparitions de Martiens by Michel Carrouges, p. 135, © 1963
UFOCAT URN – 018345 The Truth About Flying Saucers by Aimé Michel, p. 136, © 1967

UFOCAT URN – 085813 UFO Register by Delair J. Bernard, 1975, © Contact International (UK)

UFOCAT PRN – 18370 [DOS: 09-20-1952]

UFOCAT URN – 018366 Report on Unidentified Flying Objects by Edward Ruppelt, p. 257,
                                                    © 1956
UFOCAT URN – 018367 Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects by Edward Condon,
                                                    © 1960
UFOCAT URN – 018368 Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects by Edward Condon,
                                                    © 1960
UFOCAT URN – 018363 The UFO Evidence 1, Richard Hall, p. 088, © 1964
UFOCAT URN – 018369 The UFO Evidence 1, Richard Hall, p. 153, © 1964
UFOCAT URN – 018364 Anatomy of a Phenomenon by Jacques Vallee, p. 61, © 1965
UFOCAT URN – 018370 NICAP investigation files

UFOCAT URN – 052006 (USAF) Blue Book files counted in official statistics

UFOCAT URN – 192520 UNICAT computer database by Willy Smith (727), #584, no © date

UFOCAT URN – 018365 Computerized Catalog (N=3173), #0420 by L. Schoenherr, no © date

UFOCAT URN – 136683 UFOs and the National Security State by Richard Dolan, 495-123, © 2000
UFOCAT URN – 182040 UFOs and the National Security State by Richard Dolan, 403-123, © 2002

UFO Location (UFOCAT) - Latitude 56.32 N, Longitude 9.17 E (D.%) Note: I believe this should be Latitude 56.32 N, Longitude 9.17 W (D.%) as the coordinates given by UFOCAT would put the aircraft carrier in the middle of Denmark! However, 9.17W puts the carrier in the Atlantic Ocean, not the North Sea.–CF-           

Operation Mainbrace + UFOs. A UFO history of the operation. See:


The reason for Operation Mainbrace, see:



Print this Page