WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon said Tuesday it was trying to determine if a missile was launched Monday off the coast of
Southern California and, if so, who might have fired it.

Spokesmen for the Navy, Air Force, and other military organizations said they were looking into a video posted on the CBS News website that shows an object shooting across the sky and leaving a large contrail, or vapor trail, over the Pacific Ocean.

The video was shot by KCBS-TV’s Sky 2 helicopter.

“Nobody within the Department of Defense that we’ve reached out to has been able to explain what this contrail is, where it came from,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said.

Lapan said that “all indications” are that the Department of Defense was not involved within the mystery object, and that the contrail might have been created by something flown by a private company.

CBS News military analyst Army Major Mike Lyons (Ret.) talks to KNX 1070’s Linda Nunez

Normally any missile test would require notification so that mariners and pilots could be warned or air space closed, but that may not have been done in this case, Lapan said.

“It does seem implausible, and that’s why at this point the operative term is ‘unexplained’,” he said. “Nobody … within the Department of Defense that we’ve reached out to has been able to explain what this contrail is.”

Missile tests are common off Southern California. Launches are conducted from vessels and platforms on an ocean range west of Point Mugu.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, issued a statement jointly with the U.S. Northern Command, or NORTHCOM, saying that the contrail was not the result of a foreign military launching a missile. It provided no further details.

“We can confirm that there is no threat to our nation, and from all indications this was not a launch by a foreign military,” the statement said. “We will provide more information as it becomes available.”

NORTHCOM is the U.S. defense command and NORAD is a U.S.-Canadian organization charged with protecting the U.S. from the threat of missiles or hostile aircraft.

FAA Spokesman Ian Gregor later released this statement:

“The FAA ran radar replays of a large area west of Los Angeles based on media reports of the location of a possible missile launch around 5pm Monday. The radar replayed did not reveal any fast moving unidentified targets in that area. The FAA also did not receive reports of any unusual sightings from pilots who were flying in the area Monday afternoon.  Finally the FAA did not approve any commercial space launches around the area Monday.”

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (115)
  1. Rob B says:

    Add this to the January incident over eastern Canada. In the picture (seen in link) you can clearly see the missile and never heard the explanation. Just like the US officials, the Canadian government and authorities just waited until nobody asked questions anymore.


  2. Melvin Ahab says:

    The launch squence wnt well, the countdown flawless, the sub hovered just below the surface and it’s periscope was up, nearby the oberver sub was also hovering and all it’s sensors running and recording the pre launch sequnces. The hatch atop the missle blew back with a resounding clang as the missle circuits activated the launch. The Trident blew to the surface with the expanding bubble of launch gases and popped above the surface as it’s solid engines burst forth with exhaust gases and lifted the Trident slowly above the waves the gyr’s canting the missle immediatly to the right angle and it climbed up into the evening sky…..

    Below all hell broke loose aboard the submarine. This was a test launch to be aborted at moment of launch, not an actual launch. The Silo area was damaged as were the missle crews in the silo area as they were not expecting an actual launch either. The Captain’s blooddrained from his face and fear vertook him, his career over, how in the hell will he explain this?? The missles weapons were not active and the abort system entirely functional.. He ordered the launch control officer to ready the abort system.

    He ordered emergency surface, as the tns of water in the silo now dbalanced the subs hover as it was unexpected. Nearby the observer sub’s captain was astounded as the missle burst to he surface and lifted away. He quickly ordered his crew to target the sub as he was unsure as to why ithad actually fired.

    All hell broke loos in the battle group, the carier heelled over as she was accelerated away from the launch area. The attack sub off its stern instantly swang in an arc towards the launching sub. The Arleigh Burke locked onto the ascending missle with its AEGIS system and Phalanx anti air systems all swung into targeting the ascending missle.

    I am wondering what is any of the above is true….

  3. Corey says:

    VFW -American legion member. I’ve lived in Moorpark most my life, I’ve herd jets all my life fly into naval base Ventura county the same amount of time. Herd a jet fly from east to west after the “launch”, if they don’t know what it was they were looking for it.

  4. Natalia says:

    It’s an alien ship, who had to leave because of the bad recent US election results.. UFO’s don’t like the “new day…morning in America” schtick, but didn’t think we’d be as stupid as we were and that Repubs would rout the public so much, so they hadn’t gotten provisions (granola bars, H fuel, water) together in advance…It took about a week to get ready to quit this planet.

  5. whoosh says:

    pulses in that trail. new propulsion

  6. Chris S.. says:

    OBVIOUSLY the Duchy of Grand Fenwick now has an attack sub AND a missle capable of delivering a Q-bomb. SAVE THE BOLOBINKS!

  7. Nate B. says:


    read this ^, and then try to convince people that it was some simple airplane contrail. yeah right.

    the location of where the apparent “airplane contrail” was seen, is located in an area called the “San Nicolas Island – Naval Testing Facility”. Where they also launch ICBM’s and Satellites. They have a 10,000 foot runway for some of the top of the line aircrraft, and they’re FAA certified and have great radar. And you’re telling me that the government, Faa, navy, air force, pentagon, etc. couldn’t pinpoint and find an exact explanation for it right away? they couldn’t because it wasn’t just a plane contrail. it was that of a missile

  8. avlisk says:

    And flight 800 had a spark in its center fuel tank. Hey, did anyone interview the guys in the copter? They could tell us how fast and what angle the darned thing was travelling and if it was unusual to them. After all, they are up there every day at that time and have some perspective as to what is common and what isn’t.

  9. not stupid says:

    the choper pilots said it was a missile that took off from the ocean surface 35 mi off the coast why would anyone believe anything different ? Oh yes I’m a pilot too and I have seen many a contrail and this is definately a contrail…a contrail from a missle that is!

  10. Agent Mulder says:

    It was s stinger missile fired by a terrorist group /cell working in southern california (Al-Qaeda?).They were testing their weapons for a future plane strike.

  11. evrli says:

    i live in San Luis Obispo cty a good 4hrs north ofLA (san nicholas island may be more) i was out tues morn, it was around 10/1015am i went outside and saw the vapor trail just as clear as it just happened, how can this be if this happened in LA area on mon nite? if it wasnt shot off the island then it came from a sub, either way something is being covered up…again…isnt that what our great government does?

  12. evrli says:

    also…a few months back in Morro Bay Calif,(close to where i live) the gov was “dropping” a capsule in our waters just outside Morro Bay , testing for a future drop site for NASA, was a really big deal for a little town….

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