The Army is researching whether materials an outside group says were collected from UFOs can be used as cutting-edge technology in combat vehicles, according to interviews and a new research and development agreement.

The exploratory research is being conducted jointly by the new U.S. Army Futures Command and the To The Stars Academy, which has obtained what it says are exotic meta-materials that may have otherworldly origins and useful applications for the military.

The Army command was created last year to spearhead technological innovation and the vehicle research represents the first formal cooperation between the military and the To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science, formed in 2017 by rock musician and UFO believer Tom DeLonge. The group is best known for releasing widely publicized and authenticated Navy fighter jet cockpit videos that appear to show unknown aircraft with baffling flight capabilities.

Published by To the Stars Academy of Arts & Science. Screenshot of infrared radar footage from a Navy fighter jet.

The military has played both investigator and skeptic to UFO claims going all the way back to the late 1940’s and Project Blue Book, a two-decade program that examined alleged sightings, but it has never confirmed evidence of any extraterrestrial activity. The To The Stars Academy videos of fighter jet radar sightings during Navy training over the Pacific and Atlantic oceans have again sparked public interest.

Its claims of exotic materials has now gotten the Army’s attention, though the service said it is interested in what the materials can do and not the origins. The group said the materials could yield breakthroughs such as allowing Army vehicles to be lighter and more resilient on the battlefield.

“The Army’s interest in those materials, or really any materials, is exploring what their capability is,” said Joe Cannon, a senior researcher for ground vehicle programs at Army Futures Command. “Any speculation as to their origin I think is immaterial, right? They have made technical claims that have interested us.”

Cannon said he couldn’t discuss what specific technical claims To the Stars Academy has made.

The group, which includes former officials at the Pentagon, CIA, and defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp., said in July it had obtained materials from an “advanced aerospace vehicle of unknown origin.”

Those origins haven’t been proven and so far no unknown technologies have been discovered, but independent laboratories are analyzing the materials, Steve Justice, the group’s chief operating officer, said in an interview Friday.

The Army could help advance that work through its laboratories, expertise, and resources, according to the group.

One of the group’s materials has been documented back to 1996 and presents fascinating characteristics, said Justice, who said he spent almost four decades with defense giant Lockheed Martin. He said most of his employment was spent in the company’s advanced research arm called Skunk Works.

Jet Encounters

“It is said to go back decades beyond that but we can’t prove that, so I’ll stick with 1996,” said Justice, who described his role in the group as resident skeptic. “The techniques and the machines and technology to construct this kind of material to the best of our knowledge has only existed for about the last eight or 10 years.”

Justice said the group hopes the materials will help explain how unknown aircraft—what it calls unidentified aerial phenomena—such as those in the videos from Navy Super Hornet jet encounters in 2004 and 2015, can appear to defy known technology.

“If these materials represent a way to figure out how to do it, then I’m going to look in those dark corners,” he said.

The Army research relationship came about through Luis Elizondo, the group’s director of global security and special programs, who has ties to the service and Pentagon. Elizondo was a military intelligence officer who claims to have been involved with the Defense Intelligence Agency’s secretive Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.

The Pentagon said Monday he was a supervisory intelligence specialist in the office of the undersecretary of defense for intelligence from 2008 to 2017, when he resigned. But Elizondo had no assigned responsibilities in the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program and was not assigned or detailed to the Defense intelligence Agency, Pentagon spokeswoman Sue Gough wrote in an email statement.

Speculative Science

The Defense Intelligence Agency told Sen. John McCain and his Armed Services Committee last year that the program, which ran from 2007 and 2012 was created to investigate “foreign advanced aerospace weapons threats” and considered speculative science such as travel by warp drives, stargates, and wormholes, according to Freedom of Information Act request documents published by the Federation of American Scientists. The program was reportedly supported with $22 million in funding spearheaded by former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

On Oct. 10, an Army ground vehicle research unit in Warren, Mich., signed a standard research and development agreement with the To The Stars Academy, citing Elizondo as the principal investigator, according to a copy obtained by Bloomberg Government.

The collaboration involves no public funding going to the group, according to the Army.

Cannon, who is charged with hunting and refining new technologies, said the research agreements are a low-risk way to investigate outside innovation. The Army ground vehicle research unit has about 15 of the agreements with groups around the world.

“We’ve basically opened the door between our two organizations and this has now allowed the legal framework to engage in exchange,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Travis J. Tritten at ttritten@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Hendrie at phendrie@bgov.com; Robin Meszoly at rmeszoly@bgov.com

This content was originally published here.