A former US Air Force photographer made the astonishing claim that he was “part of a US Air Force cover-up” in the early sixties.

Dr Robert Jacobs led a team of photographers tasked with capturing US nuclear missiles to help scientists understand why many were failing.

“In those days, a lot of missiles blew up on the launchpad”, he explained during a press conference led by retired Air Force Captain Robert Salas from the Paradigm Research Group.

It wasn’t until he was summoned to Major Florenze J Mansmann's office that he realised he had captured something rather extraordinary.

Greeted by Major Mansmann and three other men in grey suits who he believed to be part of the CIA, he was formally told to “sit down and watch this.”

Dr Jacobs said, “He turned the projector on and the most amazing thing happened.”

He began to watch the seemingly normal footage, which was initially to see whether they could “launch a nuclear warhead into orbit.”

<p>Dr Jacobs kept the footage a secret for around 17 years </p>Getty Images/iStockphoto

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However, things took a bizarre turn when he discovered he had accidentally captured an unidentified object in the frame.

He explained how the object followed the test missile at 8,000mp in Big Sur, California and “flew out of the frame the same way it had come in. At that point, the warhead tumbled out of space,” he said.

His seniors turned to Dr Jacobs and asked whether he was playing a joke, to which he denied and said it “Looks like a UFO.”

Major Mansmann abruptly responded, “you are never to say that again, as far as you’re concerned, that never happened,” and was subsequently escorted Dr Jacobs to the door. He recalled him saying, “I don’t need to remind you of the seriousness of the security breach. I said no sir,”

“But as I left, he leaned over to speak in my ear, as if to say something the guys in the suits couldn’t hear.”

“He said, ‘lieutenant if you were ever tortured in the future, somebody has you up against the wall and they’re frying your privates with fire, you can tell them this, it was laser tracking.”

“But we never had laser tracking in 1964.”

Dr Jacobs kept the footage a secret for around 17 years. In a separate interview with CNN, he shut down claims that he lied about the incident.

“I was there. I saw the film with my own eyes. Why would I lie?” He said. “I’m a university professor with a PhD and a lot of years of good, respected research […] so don’t call me a liar, you weren’t there, I was.”

He concluded: “We are not alone.”

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