Terror in the Air: Mission Shoot Down the UFO
Pilot Oscar Santa María, an officer of the Peruvian Air Force, took off from La Joya Air Base in Arequipa to shoot down a UFO. His experience was kept secret for two decades.
The Peruvian pilot who shot a UFO
November 19, 2013 by Oscar Mercado
Peruvian pilot Oscar Santa María is the only pilot to have fired at a UFO.
The Peruvian pilot Oscar Santa María, is the only human being who fired at a UFO, on April 11, 1980, when he was still a 33 year old young lieutenant.
This incredible combat lasted 22 minutes during which hundreds of people witnessed the spectacular persecution of a UFO carried out by Oscar Santa Maria in his Sukhoi SU-22M (Fitter J) plane over the skies of the Department of Arequipa, in southern Peru.
Santa María has given countless interviews and has participated in renowned television programs such as “Ufo Hunters” (Ufo Hunters) that dedicated an episode to her. However, there is no detailed analysis of his story and the reasons that make his experience invaluable.
Before following the story of Santa María in detail, it is necessary to place the events in their historical context, to better understand the magnitude of the event.
This is the Sukhoi SU-22M fighter bomber (Fitter J) with which Oscar Santa María fired at a UFO. It was acquired by the Peruvian government in 1977.
The Peruvian Sukhoi Su-22
During the 1970s, the political tension between the governments of Peru and Chile led both countries to an unprecedented arms race that altered the strategic military balance in the countries of the region.
During that period, around 1977, Peru bought 52 Sukhoi SU-22 supersonic bomber fighter planes, which were then, along with other planes, the pride of the Soviet aeronautical industry for its advanced technology and design that allowed it to perform complicated aerial maneuvers. .
The SU-22s that Peru acquired were designed to fly at a maximum altitude of 18,000 meters and had two 30mm guns, one on each side of the ship, loaded with 80 howitzers. In addition, the Peruvian SU-22s carried AA-2–2 “Advanced Atoll” and AA-8 “Aphid” air-to-air missiles.
Initially, most of these SU-22s were sent to the Peruvian air base of La Joya, strategically located in the department of Arequipa 1,000 kilometers south of Lima, not far from the border with Chile.
Due to the tension between Peru and Chile, this air fleet’s main mission was to serve as a rapid response system and a protective anti-aircraft shield in case of violation of Peruvian airspace by the neighboring country to the south.
It is important to clarify that the Sukhoi SU-22 supersonic fighter bombers were high-tech aircraft treated among the most effective of their generation.
Lieutenant Santa Maria
The Peruvian Air Force (FAP) is characterized by the strict and professional training of its pilots, who were considered at that time, as the most capable in South America.
Lieutenant Santa María was part of that elite and had followed with excellence the war pilot training given by the FAP.
Such was his skill that at only 19 years old he already participated in aerial combat exercises. At the age of 21, in 1978, he was selected to test the new Sukhoi SU-22 ships acquired by the Peruvian government.
Despite being only 33 years old, when Oscar Santa María engaged in aerial combat with a UFO, he already had more than eight years of experience as a pilot and several aerial trophies under his belt. What’s more, he was considered by his superiors as one of the best fighter pilots of his generation.
Perhaps that is why he was chosen to shoot down the UFO that was flying in the airspace protected by the La Joya Air Base, in southern Peru, on the morning of April 11, 1980.
Lieutenant Oscar Santa María getting into his Sukhoi SU-22M (Fitter J).
An unclassifiable encounter
What happened in the encounter between Santa María and the Jewel UFO is so unique that it escapes the classifications that ufologists have created to organize encounters with UFOs and their crew members.
Renowned ufologist Allen J. Hynek, who participated as a consultant in the Blue Book project, classified encounters with UFOs and their crews into three types: close encounters of the first type (CE-1) refer to UFO sightings; those of the second type (CE-2) are those encounters in which the UFO influences elements of its environment by altering radio communications, blocking electrical transmission or leaving burns on the ground; and those of the third type (CE-3) are those that include a sighting of the UFO crew.
Then other ufologists added two more types of close encounters: those of the fourth type that are those cases in which a human being is kidnapped or abducted by the crew of a UFO and those of the fifth type that are the cases in which a communication process between a human being and the crew of a UFO.
The case of Santa María is so unique that it does not fit into any of the previous classifications. Santa Maria attacked a UFO and we humans are so blind thinking that UFOs can only come to help us that we have not even cataloged the type of contact that should be the most expected: when a human being attacks a UFO or the crew of the himself, either on his own initiative or in response to a UFO attack.
The encounter between Santa Maria and the UFO is so unique that it has not been included in the classification of encounters with UFOs.
The UFO of La Joya
This is the incredible account of the confrontation between the reckless Peruvian war pilot Oscar Santa María and a UFO. Probably the same that minutes after having felt the breath of death whisper in his ear, Santa María related to his companions at the La Joya Air Base in Arequipa.
The confrontation between the two ships has been recorded in the annals of history as the only case in which an airplane pilot fired, in an epic aerial confrontation, against an unknown and indecipherable enemy: something commonly called a UFO.
On April 11, 1980, at 7:15 in the morning, while 1,800 men were in formation at the La Joya Air Base in Arequipa in southern Peru, Oscar Santa María was warned by one of his superiors that an object An unidentified balloon-shaped flier was suspended in the air over the final stretch of the base’s runway.
Accompanied by three pilots, Santa María left the barracks and observed the UFO. The object was five kilometers from the base, suspended at an altitude of 600 meters above the far end of the runway. FAP Commander Carlos Vásquez Zegarra ordered Santa María to get on his plane and shoot down the UFO.
As Santa María recalls, the UFO had not responded to the military base’s communication attempts and, as La Joya was one of the few bases in South America that had Soviet weapons, the Peruvian military suspected that the balloon was an espionage mechanism.
The military from La Joya Air Base saw the UFO hovering 600 meters above the end of the airstrip. (Image: Google Earth)
The balloon theory was quickly discarded by the military as the object did not have the characteristics of a weather balloon and, at that time, there were no passenger hot air balloons in Peru. It was necessary to attack the object.
As was customary at the base, that morning the planes were armed and ready to take off at any moment so Santa María headed his plane, the mission seemed easy …
Oscar Santa María has recounted their meeting several times without modifying the details. The most detailed account of the La Joya case can be found in researcher Leslie Kean’s book entitled “UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Governments Officials Go On The Record”. Santa María himself wrote a chapter for this book entitled “Close Combat with an UFO”. This is the story that we will use as the basis for this article.
“I immediately went to my jet, without taking my eyes off that object in the sky, reviewing each step of the mission in my mind. As the object was on the perimeter of the base and my plane was armed with 30mm howitzers, I decided to attack from the northwest to the southeast. In this way, the Sun would be on my left and thus I would avoid hitting the base with my weapons. After taking off, I made a right turn and reached an altitude of 2,500 meters. Then I positioned myself for the attack. Aiming at the balloon, I reached the required distance and fired a volley of 64 30mm howitzers, creating a cone-shaped wall of fire that normally would have destroyed anything in its path. Some of the projectiles deviated from the target, falling to the ground, and others struck the object with precision. I thought that the balloon would open and that some gases would come out of its interior but nothing happened. It appeared as if the large bullets had been sucked into the balloon, which was not damaged. Suddenly, the object began to climb very rapidly and moved away from the base. “
The weapon that Santa María used to fire at the UFO was the 30mm cannon that his Sukhoi SU-22M (Fitter J) carried on each of the wings. In the photo you can see the size of each bullet or shell.
Despite the incredible resistance of the strange object that would have frightened any pilot, Santa María did not stop to reflect and courageously continued his mission. The pilot raised the altitude of his plane so that he could chase the rapidly rising UFO and activated the thrusters or auxiliary burners informing the base control tower that he would initiate combat procedures. Santa María realized the sensitivity of the mission and asked the tower operators to record all radio communications.
The persecution started.
The Sukhoi SU-22 was flying at 950 km per hour trying to get close to the UFO without success. Despite Santa Maria increasing the speed of its plane, the UFO maintained an advantage of 500 meters, which is a distance at which it could have fired but the SU-22 was not in the best position to do so.
“As we were moving away from the base, I informed the control tower (of the base) data such as ‘I am 3,000 meters high and 20 kilometers from the base…. I am 6,000 meters high and 40 kilometers from the base…’ and so. By this time I was already over the city of Camaná, which is 84 kilometers from the base, flying at an altitude of 11,000 meters. I was in full pursuit of the object when it suddenly stopped and forced me to veer to the side. I made a right turn and tried to position myself to fire again. Once I got the desired position to shoot, which was roughly 1,000 meters from the object, I started to zoom in until I had it perfectly in my sights. I secured the weapons on the target and was ready to fire. “
The UFO that chased Santa Maria soared vertically at high speed several times.
If the way the UFO had stopped suddenly was something inexplicable for the Peruvian pilot since there are no planes that can perform this maneuver, what would happen seconds later was even more strange. Before Santa María could fire, the UFO that had stopped suddenly and remained suspended in the air, began to rise rapidly vertically, perpendicular to the surface, managing to evade the attack. The UFO rose and managed to get out of the range of 700 meters of distance that the Santa María SU-22 fighter bomber needed to attack.
“The object made another rapid ascent, evading the attack. I stayed under the object, the object had broken the attack. I tried the same attack maneuver two more times. Each time, he had the object in his sights when it was static. And every time (I tried to attack), the object escaped by ascending vertically seconds before I started shooting. The object eluded my attack three times, each time at the last moment. “
Imagine, for a moment, the reaction of any pilot to such maneuvers. It was obvious that what Santa Maria was facing was not the fruit of human technology and most likely had no chance of taking him down. On the contrary, everything indicated that if the Peruvian pilot continued in the combat, he would be the one who would end up defeated. However, the following statements show that the mettle, courage and sense of duty of Santa María, were stronger than reason.
“Then it became personal. He had to shoot it down. But he couldn’t because he was always climbing. He was committed to this mission and felt that he must succeed. This was all that mattered and I felt confident knowing I had an extraordinary airplane. Eventually, as a result of a series of rapid upward movements, the object ended up at an altitude of 14,000 meters. I had to think about what to do! I decided to make a bold climb with my plane to get over the object and thus descend on it vertically and initiate an attack from above. This way, if the object decided to ascend, as it had done in the previous three attempts, it would not go out of my firing range and it would be easier to shoot it. I wasn’t worried about crashing into the object due to the agility and maneuverability of my plane. “
The Peruvian pilot Oscar Santa María chased a UFO up to 19,200 meters of altitude.
Then, Santa Maria accelerated to supersonic speed, 1,850 km per hour, to be able to rise above the 14,000 meters of altitude at which the UFO was located. As she ascended, Santa Maria was calculating the distance until she realized that she had passed the UFO, which was now below the Sukhoi. His plan seemed to have worked. The Peruvian pilot just had to turn and launch into a rapid descent firing at the UFO. But, once again, something unexpected happened.
“To my surprise, the object ascended again at high speed and was placed next to me in parallel formation! This left me with no possibility of attack. “
Santa María did not give up and putting her life at risk she continued to ascend with the intention of getting on top of the UFO. She raised her plane to an altitude of 19,200 meters, a thousand meters more than the maximum limit established for the SU-22s. At this altitude, the UFO came to a stop again and was suspended in the air. Santa María adjusted the angle of the wings of his plane thinking that he could maneuver at this altitude to be able to get within firing range, but he could not.
At 19,200 meters above sea level, the Sukhoi SU-22 could not maneuver as easily as the UFO.
As Santa Maria was deciding its next action, the low fuel warning lights came on. Santa María decided to return to base. Since he could not attack, he approached the object to be able to observe it carefully.
Santa Maria decided to abandon the pursuit as it was above the maximum height established for the Sukhoi SU-22M and because it was low on fuel.
The SU-22s do not have built-in radar but they do have a combat screen that through a laser beam system calculates the distance between the bomber fighter’s weapons and its target. Santa Maria used this screen to measure the dimension of the UFO.
“I got as close as I could, up to 100 meters. He was surprised to see that the ‘balloon’ was not a balloon. It was an object measuring 10 meters in diameter and had a glowing cream-colored dome on top, similar to a light bulb cut in half. The bottom was a wide circular base, silver in color, and it looked like metal. It lacked the typical components of an airplane. It had no wings, no propulsion turbines, no exhaust, no windows, no antennas and so on. It had no visible propulsion system. At that moment, I realized that it was not an espionage device but a UFO, something totally unknown. I was almost out of fuel so I couldn’t attack or maneuver my plane or make a high speed escape. Suddenly, I was scared, I thought it would be my end. After recovering from the shock of what I had seen, I began my return to base and explained to the control tower exactly what had happened. “
Santa María had to plan with the SU-22 during its descent so that the little fuel that remained would allow it to reach the La Joya airstrip.
The pursuit had brought the Peruvian pilot up to a distance of 90 kilometers south of the La Joya Air Base and had brought him back. When Santa María decided to abandon the pursuit, the UFO was, again, close to the Jewel Base.
The pursuit took Lieutenant Santa María to Camaná, 84 kilometers south of the La Joya Air Base, in the department of Arequipa, in southern Peru.
The incredible confrontation had lasted 22 minutes during which all the personnel of the La Joya Air Base had witnessed the event in surprise. Some officers present that day at the base, such as Commander Julio Chamorro, have confirmed the incident several times.
One detail that Santa María has not explained in any interview is why he did not activate the special missiles that his plane was carrying and why did he only attack the UFO with the 30 mm cannons?
The only pilot who managed to shoot a UFO
There are two other proven cases in which a pilot from another country almost shot a UFO.
North American Air Force Lieutenant Milton Torres, based in England, was sent on May 20, 1957 on a special mission. His superiors ordered him to intercept and shoot down a large UFO that had been detected by radar in the skies over East Anglia in the UK.
Milton Torres approached the UFO and readied his weapons, but before he could fire the UFO he quickly sped away
The other case is that of the Iranian pilot Parviz Jafari. In 1976, a UFO was detected, visually and on radars, over the sky over Tehran. The Iranian pilot took off in his F4D plane to intercept the UFO but could not shoot because although he was within firing range, the aircraft’s weapons system failed.Many pilots have seen UFOs and some have even chased them but Santa María is the only one who has managed to shoot.
In the Iranian case, the plane had digital weapons systems that failed when approaching the UFO. In the Torres case, the weapons were mechanical but the UFO managed to evade the American pilot.
In the Peruvian case, Santa María’s expertise made it possible for him to shoot the UFO and the weapon systems of his SU-22 did not fail because they were mechanical.
An encounter that reached the CIA
That morning in April 1980, after landing, Santa María was able to hear the different versions of the incident that were circulating at the La Joya Air Base.
“Due to the threat posed by this‘ balloon ’, our base had activated its defense systems and all systems were on alert. All submitted reports. We were informed that the object was never registered on radar, even when radar operators could see it in the sky, like people who saw it earlier when the object remained suspended. They also described it as round and metallic. They told us that what had happened in this meeting should remain with us and we should not divulge it at any time. “
The superiors of the Base de la Joya listened to the account of Santa María, made some analyzes of known espionage ships and classified the alleged balloon as an unidentified flying object.
Santa María recalls that after their confrontation, the UFO remained for more than two hours in the same place where it had left it when it left the chase, still visible to the naked eye from the base.
Oscar Santa Maria participated in the event organized at the National Press Club in Washington on November 12, 2007.
During the years that followed, Santa María did not speak of the case again.
Decades later, around 2002, the OIFAA (Office for the Investigation of Aero Anomalous Phenomena of the Peruvian Air Force), led at that time by Commander Julio Chamorro, a personal friend of Santa María and witness to the incident, began to investigate the case of the Jewel UFO. This was what eventually led the FAP to authorize Santa María to speak publicly about the case.
In November 2007, the North American journalist Leslie Kean learned of the Peruvian pilot’s incredible experience and decided to invite him to participate in an international event in which pilots from different countries related their experiences with UFOs or beings from other planets.
On November 12, 2007, Santa María was part of a panel of 14 guests made up of generals, scientists, pilots and military personnel from seven countries who had had experiences with UFOs. The Peruvian pilot recounted his meeting before the public gathered at the headquarters of the National Press Club in Washington.
Leslie Kean also informed Santa María that her case had attracted special attention from the US government since she had found an official document reporting the incident at the La Joya Base (see image below).
This document does not have detailed information about the incident but shows, as can be seen in the image below, that it was sent to the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the CIA.
The official US government document reporting the Santa Maria incident was issued on June 3, 1980 with a copy to the NSA and the CIA.
In February 2008, Santa María was interviewed for the program “Ufo Hunters” (UFO hunters) of the well-known television channel History Channel. After the broadcast of the program in October of the same year, Santa María became, belatedly, a world celebrity and gave interviews to the press around the world.
Apparently, for Santa María fame is not as important as verifying that there are finally people who believe her and who recognize her value.
Science versus science
A flying object was suspended over the La Joya Air Base that morning because there are dozens of soldiers, if not hundreds, who witnessed the fact, and there is a document from the US government confirming the same episode.
That is, the object was not a meteorological phenomenon or a simple optical illusion. These options are ruled out. The object existed physically and reacted, in some way, to the pilot’s maneuvers.
An important fact is that the radar at the Jewel Base failed to detect the UFO. According to Santa Maria’s account, the UFO did not appear on radar even during the chase.
Understanding the basic principles of radar operation can help us better analyze the incident.
Photo of the event organized at the National Press Club in Washington in November 2007. On the bottom right, former British Defense Minister and ufologist Nick Pope. To his left, the American journalist Leslie Kean. In the center, Oscar Santa María. On the left, Peruvian ufologist Anthony Choy. (Photo by Ufo Digest / Marc Whitford)
Radars work by sending intermittent radio signals that bounce off objects and return to the radar, allowing it to calculate their distance and elevation. Some objects move very slowly and are discarded by radars and other objects are not made of refractive materials. The material of the object has to be able to reflect the radio signal back to the radar so that it can detect it.
Weather balloons and passenger hot air balloons, used ad nauseam by skeptics to explain UFO sightings, are not always detected by radars as they travel at very slow speeds and have no reflective surfaces.
Skeptics have also tried to dismiss the Santa Maria case by saying that it was a weather balloon as it is supposed to have happened in the Gorman case of 1948. In this case, pilot George F. Gorman of the US Dakota National Guard pursued , on his P51 plane, to a UFO, similar to Oscar Santa María.
The US government’s Blue Book UFO study project classified the Gorman case as false, since according to its analysis Gorman would have chased a weather balloon. In the case of the La Joya UFO, this hypothesis is ruled out since the object that Gorman chased was, according to his description, a ball of light 15 to 20 centimeters in diameter and the object that Santa María faced was 10 meters in diameter.
Additionally, Project Blue Book investigators discovered that no one at the control tower closest to the incident had seen the maneuvers that Gorman claimed the object performed. According to the Project Blue Book report, these alleged maneuvers were nothing more than an optical illusion caused by the movements of Gorman’s plane near the weather balloon. In the case of Santa María, there are hundreds of witnesses who saw the UFO and the maneuvers that it and the Sukhoi SU-22M aircraft carried out during the chase.
In any case, trying to follow the skeptics’ theory, although most weather balloons have a maximum diameter of 6 meters, there is a special type of weather balloon that matches the dimensions of the UFO that Santa María observed since it is almost 12 meters in diameter: The Transosonde (see image below).
The Transosonde is one of the few meteorological balloons that exceeds 10 meters in diameter.
This special weather balloon, developed by the US Naval Research Office in the 1950s, was filled with helium, carried a programmable control mechanism, navigation and radio equipment, as well as electric batteries. Its displacement and altitude were controlled by radio releasing gas to make it descend and releasing other materials to make it ascend. It could stay in the air for several days and its main objective was to collect meteorological data from different altitudes for long periods of time.
Did Santa Maria face a Transosonde-type weather balloon? Could the La Joya UFO be a 10-meter diameter Transosonde balloon that moved rapidly thanks to the air moved by the fighter bomber as it approached?
It is very strange that a meteorological balloon the size of the Transosonde could have traveled at almost 1,000 kilometers per hour as the Sukhoi SU-22M of Santa María was doing when it chased the UFO through the skies of southern Arequipa.
Furthermore, the Transosonde tends to remain at altitudes greater than 40,000 meters. One wonders what was the supposed Transosonde balloon doing floating just 600 meters above the La Joya airstrip?
This hypothesis also has the experience of an experienced fighter pilot as a counterweight. Santa María knew what a weather balloon was, big or small, as did the soldiers at the La Joya base.
Do not forget that Santa Maria fired 62 howitzers and this would have destroyed any weather balloon, even the giant Transosonde.
The aerial pursuit took Santa María up to the skies of Camaná, 84 kilometers from the La Joya base, and brought him back to the vicinity of the base. So, what are the probabilities that during the aerial chase the supposed weather balloon has moved away from the base and then returned to the vicinity of it and remained in the same place without moving for two hours?
It is impossible that a passenger hot air balloon or a large meteorological balloon could have surpassed in speed the Sukhoi SU-22M (Fitter J) supersonic fighter bomber that could reach the speed of Mach 2.2, more than 2,300 kilometers per hour.
The weather balloon hypothesis, as we have seen, is not solid and leaves several details unexplained.
On the other hand, the hypothesis of the passenger hot air balloon is also ruled out when we take into account the speed at which the UFO was traveling, horizontally and vertically. There is no hot air balloon that travels at that speed. As Santa María says, at that time in Peru there were no hot air balloons of that size.
We can speculate that it was an advanced technology espionage team, but from which country? Peru bought arms from the Russians so they did not need to spy. Nor could the Americans have been behind this advanced alleged spy system since they themselves issued an official document alerting various state organizations such as the National Security Agency (NSA) and the CIA to the fact.
No more speculating can be done. Rational hypothesis fail to explain what happened in the Santa María case. It is impossible to determine with certainty whether he faced an alien ship or a land ship built with alien technology, or even if he faced an extra-dimensional ship.
Oscar Santa María’s experience is real, although it is impossible to determine with certainty the origin of the UFO.
We can ask ourselves, with legitimate reason, why this event remained hidden from the general public or did not have the publicity it deserved, for almost 20 years?
Was it intended to hide an incident that would bring down the official statements of countries like the USA about the non-existence of contact with extraterrestrial beings?
Unfortunately, scientists have become used to not knowing what they cannot understand and denying what they cannot verify. Both positions go against one of the basic laws of scientific knowledge that postulates that something that is not known should not be denied.
The Disclosers believe that the FAP should make public the audio recording of the radio communication between Santa María and the control tower of the La Joya Air Base as this could provide new lights in the investigation of this case and could add to the other evidences that confirm the authenticity of this historical episode.
For now, the only pilot in the world who faced a UFO is still active as a flight instructor for a well-known airline and gives interviews to those who remember his incredible story.
“There will be those who believe in what I say, others will believe that I am a charlatan. But what would I gain by lying? No one has ever paid me for my testimony ”, reflects Santa María now.
If the extraterrestrial hypothesis is confirmed, the Peruvian pilot Oscar Santa Maria would not only be the only one who fired at a UFO but also the only one who fired at an alien spacecraft.
The Disclosers are sure that life will soon give Oscar Santa María a revenge when the evidence that the different governments and entities of the world hide about the existence of life on other planets and the contact between the human species and beings are finally made public. aliens.
Meanwhile, the only pilot who shot a UFO is part of history and his gesture will be remembered as a show of bravery, courage and discipline of which any inhabitant of our planet would be proud.
Although for him, his experience is just one more anecdote.
“The first man who shot aliens. Nice story to tell my grandchildren, right? “
- Prose of Juggler
- UFO Digest
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- Leslie Kean. (2011). Ufos: Generals, Pilots, and Governments Officials Go On The Record.
- Weatherwise, Vol 7, Issue 4. (1954).
- Edward J. Ruppelt. (1956). The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects.
- Curtis Peeble. (nineteen ninety five). Watch the Skies: A Chronicle of the Flying Saucer Myth.
- Jerome Clark. (1998). The UFO Encyclopedia: The Phenomenon from the Beginning.
- Edward Condon. (1969). Final Report of the Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects.
by Oscar Mercado
The Peruvian pilot who shot a UFO
November 19, 2013 by Oscar Mercado
Other sources: Peruvian Military History.
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