back to article Royal Navy warship almost fires on UFOs

A Royal Navy warship may have come within seconds of opening fire on Unidentified Flying Objects above Merseyside, possibly narrowly avoiding the precipitation of an interstellar war and the extirpation of humanity by testy aliens. Reports have it that the UFOs - speculated to have been visiting spacecraft from beyond the solar …


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  1. George

    Its months away from being finished thats why there is not all the weapons yet!

    I know you love the sceptics angle Lewis but really you could have made more clear that actually the ship is quite a few months away from deployment and therefore we shouldn't expect to be all ready and loaded to go.

    Do you love your poo poo of the Telegraph article, sometimes the papers/internet just make stuff up which is just nonsense which irks me.

  2. Kwac


    There were some stories about the RN running Windows weren't there?

    The combination of crap pre-war AA guns and crap post-war OS makes me glad I've left the UK

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    So even less well-equipped for the job than Thunderchild then, but at least we have swine flu to fall back on....

    Does this also explain the RNs impotence in the face of lightly armed Iranian dingies?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought there was plenty enough cannon-fodder

    in the area between South Liverpool and Southport without having to go to the expense of firing off expensive stuff like flares. You want proof? Just flick a lit match at any polyester tracksuit...

  5. Mark
    Black Helicopters

    Lewis gets it wrong, again!

    Wow, Lewis, you didn't even read what you wrote!

    "The guns on the ships are powered by radar,"

    Kryten turrets are not powered by radar!

    A proper journalist would have done some basic research, and reported which previously unreported, radar powered weapons system was almost used.

  6. Sureo


    If nothing else I learned what scouse is.

  7. pat regan


    Interesting stuff and we have just had in reports at Southport of sightings over the sea.

    Pat Regan - Founder of North West UFO Research

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    oh, for the love of...

    ...a billion £ destroyer, with most of it's primary weapons from the "oooh, it's shiny" category not fitted????

    May as well put a sign up saying "We're british, we're skint and we're shit!"


  9. Perry

    I for one.....

    Welcome our alien scouse overlords!

  10. Dave Silver badge


    "A Royal Navy warship may have come within seconds of opening fire on Unidentified Flying Objects above Merseyside"

    ey, ey, ey...cehm down, cehm down

  11. RichardB


    Brown must be relieved of duty; these crackbrained plans of his to save the regime are getting more and more dangerous every day. Starting a fight with a transgalactic civilisation is _NOT_ the way to distract the taxpayer.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No guns?

    Yeesht... gotta love the UKGov, they'll save banks, fork out millions to businesses and yet when it comes to defence.. they hand out pea shooters.

    Hate to think what they'll fit on the new Astute class Submarines.. Maybe a giant pink feather...

    But I for one welcome out flare impersonating, alien visiting overlords... After the almighty Hypno-toad of course!

  13. Anonymous Coward

    cropcircle anyone

    must have been the same UFOs that painted a large jellyfish on a barley field in Oxfordshire!

  14. Paul Segrue

    Friday all ready?

    Time for Playmobile?

  15. Christoph

    orange, ball-shaped UFOs

    That would be the invaders described in John Wyndham 's "The Kraken Wakes".

    You can easily tell if it's true - you'll start hearing stories about the ice caps melting and sea level rising.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UFO's over Merseyside?

    Must be stolen hub caps.

  17. Steve

    Airport vs "real" radars

    My understanding is that (civilian) airport radars are really only powerful enough to trigger transponders in aircraft, and cannot "skin paint" or get reflections from aircraft with their transponders turned off, which would explain the variance between the airport's and HMS Daring's radar logs.

  18. Gabriel Vistica

    Civilian RADAR doesn't work quite like that...

    Civilan RADAR systems, especially at international airports, actually rely on a plane's transponder. Military systems are the ones that physically send out RADAR waves that bounce back. That's how they can track planes that TURN OFF THEIR TRANSPONDER.

  19. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    Where's the..

    ... Playmobil reconstruction?

  20. Eduard Coli
    Gates Horns

    The cost of business doing you

    The cost for the licenses for Windows for Warships must have been staggering.

  21. Marvin the Martian

    Ball-shaped object over water?

    Hm... was it Merseyside and not Lithuania? Just asking, because I was just watching The Prisoner, and there's evil blobs coming out of the water there... Would explain it all.

  22. Mark Scorah

    I saw something similar

    I'm from Liverpool and I saw something similar in description to that a couple of years ago. they must be repeat visitors

  23. Frank

    @Mark re. Lewis gets it wrong, again!

    I'd have thought that the guns were in fact powered by high pressure hydraulic lines or by some beefy electric motors.

    (The one with 'Annoying Pedant' written on the back)

  24. Simon Preston

    To quote Star Trek Generations.

    "The Phalanx guns? Umm, they won't be installed until Tuesday."

  25. Jacqui


    Excuse me - no one lets off military flares in a densely populated area?

    I live next to sandhurst military academy and when night ops are on they send up para flares

    all the time - one eveyr minute or so - these often end up in peolpes back gardens or on the local football field when we take the dogs out for a walk in the morning.

    Ok the flares are let off in woodland but this is right next to two council estates and

    some posh estates - and we all get burnt out chute flares!

    The mersey flares could be heat flares with a line of chaff to present both a heat and radar signature. *Thinks* Having the chaff in the form of a "baloon" could be an atempt to present a specific radar sig after all UK boffins still come up with some wacky but workable ideas.

    And you did say the ship was at dock - if they were planning on (re)fitting the guns would they not want to test (say) the radar for tracking integration - even if the guns are still virtual stubs...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ ac 19:32

    I prefer the lions led by scoundrels approach myself :-)


    We're British, almost always skint, shovelled lots of s**t and that is why we are great.

  27. Adam

    Re: Lewis gets it wrong, again!

    Mark, please read the article then comment you retard! Lewis was merely quoting another article (written by the Telegraph) before verbally anihalating it.

    Lewis, please keep these articles coming its always comfoting to read how impotent our military actually is regardless of the endless propoganda thrown at us "they wouldnt understand" civvies by the top brass.

    Unfortunately I had the misfortune of using the cadet version of the SA80 (bolt action) during school and I tended to find it more effective if I just picked the bullets up and overarm lobbed them down the range! I can only hope the full blown version is somewhat better, but from what I hear from friends now in the forces I doubt it.


  28. Anonymous Coward

    I guess the Royal Navy ain't what it used to be

    In other reports the Royal Navy has reported high accuracy with the SB-7 spitball cannon. The Vice Admiral of the Ex-checker has reported that...

  29. Charles Manning


    I'm pretty sure that civilian air radar is capable of detecting and showing real targets as well as transponders [well that was the case when I last worked with radar systems 20+ years ago]. Same deal with marine radar.

    However the system can be set so be selective as to what it shows ("raw return" - ie what signal gets received, "doppler only" - ie. only moving signals and ignore reflections from buildings etc, transponder - ie. decoded transponder data that shows up as a symbol).

    Raw transponder data looks like a line of "blips" and lots of transponders going off, as you get with air traffic control for a busy airspace, would just look like a screen full of tracer fire. Generally air traffic control terminals are set to not show anything except for translated transponder symbols.

  30. Tony Proudlove

    Orange blobs in Liverpool?

    You can see them every weekend down Mathew Street, usually with bad bleach jobs.

  31. reader

    discount matrix

    The floating orange balls were actually seen in navy simulation exercises. They were using the Crysis Editor.

  32. Anonymous Coward


    Don't you realize that the aliens obviously have the tech to disguise their ships as signal flares???

    Not to mention their soldiers are disguised as discarded rubbish? We're surrounded!!!

    Having actually been a test engineer in the past though, they may have been using camera equipment to track the plane (or just the flares) visually, while it dropped the flares as it was being filmed? Maybe? I dunno, I might be crazy. I know when things with any kind of technical sophistication are involved, the tests created are completely up to the imaginations of the people who are working with/on it. There's almost always something worth seeing from the test results that wasn't expected, or needs to be verified through multiple kinds of observation, so the more you add to the test to observe, the better.

    One thing I would use the radar/flare test for is to see if long range visible light systems can track in synch with radars when it comes to range finding and doppler effects from objects in motion, or to calibrate a visible-light based system (and/or infrared) with the radar system, since the flares literally cover at least those three spectrum.

    Why would one do this in public? It's (probably) not involving secret tech, and the land based part of the test probably wanted to show off to family or just thought it would be cooler :) I'd show up to watch if I had nothing better to do. And everyone loves pyrotechnics ;P mmmm, fire.

    Of course it could be the government getting us used to weird things happening so that when the true alien overlords do finally show up soon, by the time we realize it isn't a hoax we'll be easy pickings. Of course. Or it could be....

    Mine's the one that says, "My tinfoil hat is my other pants"

  33. Anonymous Coward

    @Mark Scorah

    Yeah, repeat visitors. You keep telling yourself that.

    I reckon they just got lost following the M6 and hit the M62 instead of the M55. I can't imagine anyone intentionally visiting Liverpool twice.

  34. Mark Burgum


    Dont know where you get the idea that the Kryten gun is a WWII design. its actually based on the abbot from the 60's. but only called the Kryten after a redesign in the 80's.

    after all WWII guns had manned turrets, this ones automated.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Absolute Garbage

    Perhaps if you did some research Lewis you would find out where the Phalanx mountings that are going to be fitted are currently (or have until recently) operating. Far from "cannibalising" them, they will be refurbished and brought up to the latest standard.

    Or perhaps we should just throw the old ones away, the ones that are perfectly functional with a few years more life in them, and buy a load brand mountings: that would be a great use of taxpayers money.

    Lewis I'm sick of your anti Navy, anti RAF, anti Army, anti MOD rants purporting to be reality. "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story", I bet you've heard that a few times in your life. Perhaps as a footnote of every article you could write a brief precis of your military service that enables you to comment in this area, including why you have this grudge against the services.

    And to Adam "its always comfoting to read how impotent our military actually is".

    I strongly recommend you find someone who has just returned from one of the UKs current war zones, hell find anyone currently wearing the uniform and tell them to their face they are "impotent", I'd love to see their response.

    Yes there are problems in defence procurement, but in reality they are no worse and probably a damn sight better than most large scale government projects, and I'd wager a lot of industry ones too. Anyone who thinks they can do better is more than welcome to apply for a job in the civil service or join the forces and I'm sure they would be glad to have you onboard.

  36. Anonymous Coward


    I too used the cadet, single shot, manual loading version of the SA80 (L98A1) in the Air Cadets (ATC) - however my experience was somewhat different to yours. The only issue I remember happening were jams when cocking it - is you pulled it back and let it spring forward on its own, everything was fine - but if a cadet pulled it back and pushed it forward - then it would jam. Consequently, it taught the cadets good cocking technique. I can't remember jamming it myself more than a couple of times over my 5 years in the cadets.

    Having used it on a 200m range with basic uncalibrated iron sights, in the hands of a cadet it wasn't going to win any awards - but at the usual 25m ranges it wasn't impossible to get both the ATC Marksman and RAF Marksman awards if you had a little skill, took your time and breathed properly.

  37. S Larti
    Paris Hilton

    Kryten gun turret?

    Why not go the whole hog & rename the ship HMS Dwarfer?

    A billion pounds down the swanee & in the event of war it's "Engage panic mode"

    Paris, because she's disappointed by someone armed with a mere 4.5 inches too!

  38. Ascylto

    Windows for Warships

    Available soon at a ZuneStore near you.

  39. Gary Owen

    Was this NOTAM'd???

    An easy way to check if the MoD explanation is BS is to see if there was a NOTAM published for the flare dropping activity. I'm an ex ATCO so don't have access to daily NOTAM notices although I know it's out there on t'interweb but can't be arsed looking for it - I am not after all, a UFO investigator.


  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is Cynicism Always Healthy

    I know that Lewis knows what an AWD actually does, so why wind up the masses with this cynical BS? The Type 45 hasn't entered service yet, so not having its missiles fitted(they're on the way) isn't out of the ordinary. When it does enter service next year it will be one of , if not the, finest AWD afloat.

    Furthermore, I find amazing(and sad) at some of the ignorant comments on here. I'm astounded by how little is known about our own country. Anonymous Coward indeed.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's get the radar thing right......

    Primary radars are the type that receive a signal that's bounced off of the "target". Secondary radars use a transponder in the aircraft to receive the radar signal transmitted from the ground, and transmit their own response back - hence their ability to add additional information to the "return". Large civilian airports generally use both systems, with the secondary radar antenna mounted above the primary radar antenna, so that the " Plan Postion Indicator" display from each can be easily overlaid. Secondary radar is properly known as "Secondary Surveillance Radar" (SSR), in military terms sometimes referred to as IFF (Identification Friend or Foe).

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Harbour Acceptance Testing

    I don't believe anyone reading this article would actually expect a ship to actually use live weaponry for system testing in and around a city - not even Liverpool.

    It might just be that they were testing the detection and tracking capabilities of their systems, which might use radar and/or a variety of other sensors. For such tests, you might not want to fire guns, launch missiles or use any kind of weaponry every time you run a test - so you might have some software to simulate the assorted weapon systems that would be at you disposal once the ship has been finished. Personally, I wouldn't want to be in the vicinity of the first tests of a fire control system which also used live ammunition.

  43. MinionZero

    Its just swamp gas from a weather balloon trapped in a thermal pocket...

    Or we are all doomed!, doomed I tell you!! ... DOOMED!!! ... Either that or I've had to much coffee this morning!

    So anyway, between the alien invasion and the rise of the robot (ships) we are doomed.

    Maybe the aliens and the robots are working together?! ... It makes sense. (Well my nurse agrees). The answer is simple. The aliens and robots just (for a laugh) throw some flares at the fleshlings and point their gun at them, then watch them scatter and hide.

    Anyway I have to go now, its time for my medication (for some strange reason it glows green).

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Radar Alongside

    There's no way they would be transmitting high powered radars if they were in Liverpool or anywhere within a couple of miles of shore, it interferes with radio and tv signals too much. Maybe they were testing the effectiveness of their Infra red tracking cameras whilst a suitable RAF asset was nearby.

    But if it was aliens we should be ok. They'd be looking for intelligent life and there ain't much of that in the North West.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    this is a title

    to all the idiots - the ship is currently being fitted - not in service

    in other news parts of a plane in BAe cant fly at the minute cause the wings are still in Germany


  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fire Kites?

    Before I heard the line about countermeasure flares I had assumed that the firey orange blobs dropping fire were simply good old fashioned fire kites.

    I know of more than one UFO flap that has been caused by a bunch of fire kites. For obvious reasons I can't let you know when and where. It would spoil the fun.

  47. Dave


    Seems most likely to me that an RAF plane happened to be in the area, got 'lit up' by the ship's radar, and followed his training without thinking about where he was.

  48. Peter Mc Aulay
    Thumb Down

    No Phalanx?

    No AA missiles either? On a Type 45? What's it for, then?

  49. Britt Johnston
    Black Helicopters

    what happened to deterrence?

    The idea is, if you pretend that you can fend off everything, even aliens, then no enemy would dare to attack you.

    Lewis, you let something like hot air out of the bag.

  50. Yorkshirepudding

    silence fools

    Firstly the new ship doesnt have its PHALANX guns installed yet

    secondly less of the anti-liverpool jibes you southern fairy poofters

  51. Anonymous Coward

    I hope the aliens are real. (God, I f**king hope they are!)

    "I strongly recommend you find someone who has just returned from one of the UKs current war zones, hell find anyone currently wearing the uniform and tell them to their face they are "impotent", I'd love to see their response."

    Well, they're not maybe not impotent but they probably fall into one of two categories:

    1, Sent to fight in a war based on lies (no WMD in Iraq and the US/UK knew it due to the life expectancy on the chemical weapons WE sold them)

    2, Sent to fight in a war based on rumour (Usama was last known to be in Iraq MONTHS before 11th September 2001 and there is STILL NO PROOF that Afghanistan had anything to do with it).

    Basically this makes both our current wars complete shams. They're most likely based on oil and everyone knows it - probably including the Merseyside Aliens!

    Yes, it's a risky job getting shot at but it seems to be even riskier pointing out the lies that resulted in our forces being sent to fight in the first place. "How f**king dare you say that" would be a pretty typical reaction...

    Our "defence" forces seem to spend a lot of time fighting other people's wars in other countries but no-one has tried to invade the UK or any of our protectorates for over 25 years so why do we spend so much money on weapons and wars? It can't be for "defence"! The fighting isn't even on our own continent and we live on the extreme edge, as far away as you can get.

    Personally, I hope the aliens are real and reveal themselves as soon as possible. Then humanity can forget about our petty silly squabbles...

    Those very same silly squabbles are probably putting the aliens off! They may think we're aggressive militaristic idiots and who would blame them?

  52. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Caught on the hop ........

    "The idea is, if you pretend that you can fend off everything, even aliens, then no enemy would dare to attack you." ....... By Britt Johnston Posted Thursday 4th June 2009 12:26 GMT


    One has a major problem whenever someone, and even aliens, realise that is is all pretend and there therefore is no possible defence against any sort of attack.

    Then it is a case of Who Dares, Win Wins.


    You are supposed to have your ear to the ground in military circles, so who has Lead Responsibility, in UK Special Forces, for CyberSpace Command and Control Configuration.

    Or is that something to be supplied to the MOD from a Private Contractor and/or Mercenary Pirate ........... to Gift them a Remote Civil Power which extraordinarily renders Media and Government, their Puppets. And in that case, who would be the Decisive Procurement Officer/Head Honcho/Chief Hoover?

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Peter Mc Aulay

    At the moment the Type 45 is "for" trials. She is the first of class and has to undergo a rigorous evaluation process to ensure it meets all its contractual and operational requirements.

    It is not too disimilar (although a lot more complicated) to Ford testing new cars all over the world in different conditions to see how they cope. If this process wasn't done I'm sure you'd be pretty miffed when your car didn't do what it was supposed to and broke down when the weather got bad - the Navy with a new ship are no different. The next one out (HMS Dauntless) will not need anywhere near as much testing (it will still get some) and will hit the front line a lot sooner after launch.

    The Phalanx mountings that should of been fitted to this ship have been protecting soldiers in a desert, operated and maintained by members of the Royal Navy - Sailors in the desert!

    So Lewis and Peter, where would YOU rather have these essential systems placed? In Basra or on a trials ship? Also Sea Viper (Lewis can't even get the name of the missile system correct) is due to enter service in 2010 (around the same time as the ship funnily enough) and is also undergoing a critical evaluation process.

    You guys criticising make me laugh, you have no idea of the complexity of a modern warship (or warplane, tank missile system etc etc), I doubt many of you have even seen one except when you go to France and sail past one or two in Portsmouth dockyard, although as an ex member of the Navy Lewis should know better. I always wonder why Lewis appears to have little loyalty to his ex shipmates and an axe to grind against the MOD. Perhaps he would like to explain it?

  54. Jay
    Black Helicopters

    @AC: L98A1

    Ah, I remember those buggers from my time in CCF (RAF) around 1990. They jammed so often that we were fully trained on the different types of stoppages, and how to get it working again. Once on the range I pulled the trigger, all the working parts went forward but there was no bang!

  55. Francis Offord

    A load of spheres

    What more is there to say?

  56. Daniel Wilkie

    I almost raged...

    I was about to rage about the RADAR powered guns and infrared decoy flares and phalanx till I read the article and realised that they weren't your words.

    The Type45 is fitted for but not with, and likely will remain so after it is commisioned. The (formerly Vickers I believe) 4.5" gun is meant for shore bombardment rather than anti air and is perfectly advanced enough for what it does.

    If I remember correctly, the Diamond onwards will be fitted with Phalanx when they enter service, but the Daring and Dauntless will remain without.

  57. John Dougald McCallum


    Big ships and no weapons take a bow HMS Ark Royal (not the current one silly) had the Seacat mounts and the magazines so sorry over spent on the refit so no Seacats only small arms.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wrong Again!

    Mr Page,

    Once again your contempt for your former employer and your disatisfaction with your once-chosen career path comes out to the fore.

    Your experience as a "Military Expert" is woeful and your knowledge of "countermeasures" shocking - even for the junior officer you once were.

    Please stop commenting on military topics like you are the only person who knows what the MoD are talking about. Your comments rather than educate and ellucidate merely worsen the uninformed opinions of the already gossip hungry, uninterested masses.

  59. Bilejones

    And the first response of the Governmant

    Is always Violence and Destruction.

  60. Magic Mushroom
    Thumb Down


    It is most illuminating seeing the views of Lewis' former RN colleagues regarding his qualification to comment on this subject!

  61. Bryan W

    I hope for hostile alien contact...

    ... then we can focus on killing them instead of each other.

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