Air Intelligence Digest title banner
View Air Intelligence Digest issue cover
28-September-1998  -  In 1997, when James Hartman of Griffith, IN alerted us here at CUFON of the existence of the Project Silver Bug report, frankly, we thought that the name was just too cute to be real, but Silver Bug was real.   The report which was released and has now gained wide distribution refers to the ill-fated "AVRO Car" development program.  In that report, several other documents are referenced.  This is our presentation of one of these; an article from the December, 1954 issue of the United States Air Force Air Intelligence Digest (AID) titled The Flying Disc.

Based on the several issues released to us on microfilm by the USAF Historical Research Agency, Maxwell Air Force base, Alabama, the Air Intelligence Digest primarily dealt with Soviet aircraft, radar, weapons systems, the air forces of other nations and so on.  The extent and amount of detailed intelligence made available in the AID issues was impressive including photographs of Soviet aircraft and aerial photographs of airfields from all over the world.  The classification level of the AID was SECRET, indicating that even more detailed intelligence probably existed.  The article presented here is different from all the others in the issues we have available in that it is speculative in nature, dealing with something that did not yet exist.  Why was this article printed?   The subject of UFOs is dismissed in a derogatory, humorous manner, but the idea that the Soviets might also be developing disc-shaped aircraft is presented quite seriously.  The clear implication being that if we were developing such aircraft, we must assume the Soviets are doing the same, and therefore one must be vigilant because any sighting of an airborne disc could mean that the East had made a breakthrough.  At a single stroke, this article both raises hopes that we might soon have an unbeatable weapon, and brought full-circle the idea that flying discs were Soviet weapons.  This idea was proven wrong as early as 1948.  Of course, if the western disc predicted by the article were to be successful, perhaps one might expect to catch a glimpse of the new aircraft as it was tested and deployed.  Either way, the idea comes across clearly that, if seen, flying discs are earthly craft.  This is quite interesting when contrasted with the facts that Air Force intelligence along with the rest of the intelligence community have shown a long standing and continuing interest in UFO, and many Air Force personnel were certain that UFOs were not made by earthly nations because of their own personal experiences.

UPDATE - 24-June-2000  Jan Aldrich of Project-1947 has located at the National Archives (RG 38, Office of Naval Intelligence) and provided to us a US Navy document which mentions this AID article.  The text of this document has been appended to this file.

This Navy document not only reinforces the prediction of working circular planform aircraft produced and deployed by western military forces, but notes that if the West could create such devices, then (it must be assumed) that so could the Soviets.  This is an insight into the military mindset, but is also interesting in the light of USAF studies which conclude that UFOs were neither Western or Soviet in origin.

                                       - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  

DECEMBER 1954 Volume 7 - Number 12

WARNING: this document contains information affecting the national defense of the United States within the meaning of the Espionage Laws, Title 18 U.S.C., Section 793 and Section 794. Its transmission or the revelation of its contents in any manner to an unauthorized person is prohibited by law. Reproduction of the intelligence in this publication and numbered distribution in local series are authorized when total additional distribution list is furnished the issuing office, Directorate of Intelligence, DCS/O Hq, USAF, Pentagon.

Printed for official use with the approval of the Bureau of the Budget, 31 Oct. 1951

Over-all classification of this document is SECRET


Flying Discs in the Air Intelligence Digest

When you come to page 6, don't close the book because you think the AIR INTELLIGENCE DIGEST has flipped its lid. We have not joined the ranks of publications that print speculative stories of strange flying contraptions, nor have we had any polka-dotted strangers from outer space visiting our office. This is for real. A new aircraft configuration with a circular planform is taking shape on the drawing boards of Western aircraft designers that may well be the beginning of a new era of flight.

... (continues with other subjects in issue)

New type of jet aircraft, powered by a turbine larger than any

now in use, is expected to take off, land vertically, and be able to hover.

It may cruise at 1,500 knots and have a range of 15,000 nautical miles.

  New type of jet aircraft, powered by a turbine larger than any now in use, is expected to take off, land vertically, and be able to hover. It may cruise at 1,500 knots and have a range of 15,000 nautical miles.

  Aircraft designers may be approaching the era of the Earth-built flying saucer. Latest information indicates that a turbine-powered, circular-shaped jet aircraft - literally a flying turbojet engine - will be in existence in the West just 5 years from now. No such aircraft have yet flown, but an experimental project is actively under way in the Western Hemisphere.

  Such a machine may turn out to be a formidable weapon capable of traveling so fast and so high that it will be virtually immune from attack by present-day defense systems.

WEAPON OF 1960? This is a very-much-generalized chart (not reflecting estimates) to suggest the possibilities of the future as far as a proposed flying disc is concerned. This artist's conception is printed as a conversation piece, to rouse speculation whether a flying disc might fly so high, and so fast that air-to-air missiles, and anti-aircraft guns would not be able to match its performance and bring it down [SECRET]
submarine based disc
DISC AND SUB could make a deadly combination in an offensive operation. Submarine could approach enemy's mainland and let disc take off. In space of half hour, disc could fly 300 miles, hit target, return to submarine [SECRET]


If the developments now under way culminate in successful flight -- and the chances are considered good that they will - the disc-shaped aircraft is expected to be able to take off and land vertically, to be able to hover, and to travel at speeds and altitudes than those possible to attain now with conventional wing-and-fuselage jet aircraft. In addition, the range of a disc-type bomber may be greater than that of present-day bombers.

A possibility so startling immediately poses a multitude of questions. This article will attempt to answer some of the questions, but will not attempt a detailed coverage.

* Why will this aircraft have the shape of a disc?

vertical take-off
NO RUNWAYS NEEDED. Disc would not need runway for take-offs and landings. It could get up close to enemy, rise from small clearing and hit deep, fast, hard. It might be less costly to build than today's jet aircraft. [SECRET]


The disc configuration permits equal distribution of radially directed thrust about the circumference, thereby permitting vertical take-off in the horizontal attitude. This shape also lends itself to the housing of the powerplant configuration planned for the aircraft.

* Where will the pilot (or crew in a bomber-size disc) be carried?

The pilot probably will be housed in a compartment mounted in the top center part of the disc. Such a compartment will probably be provided with a full complement of flight instruments, some of which may be specially designed to meet the requirements of unusual flight characteristics.

* How will the pilot steer the disc?

In the main, he will control it by simply by changing the thrust distribution. At various places on the rim of the aircraft, variable exhaust orifices may be opened or closed to change the direction and/or location of the thrust resultant. When necessary, the pilot may vary the amount of thrust as he changes direction and thereby avoid a too-severe G load.

A successful development of a saucer aircraft would compel military planners in both hemispheres to take a new look at the design or planned procurement of many items of military equipment such as radars, guided missiles, aircraft armament, antiaircraft artillery, aircraft carriers, helicopters, blimps, and airfields.

Further, if the expected potential of the disc type design becomes a reality, it will represent an historic break-through to a level of engineering and flight progress that has been predicted for centuries, and it will revolutionize aircraft design and air warfare.

The full impact of the effect that a disc aircraft might have on the planning and conduct of defensive and offensive military operations is apparent when we consider some of the operations characteristics that appear to be within the capabilities of this proposed new configuration.

Let's consider three likely sizes - large, medium and small - and examine the estimated capabilities of each size:


This type could be used as a long-range bomber, as a carrier of personnel or cargo, as an ambulance, as a reconnaissance vehicle, as a fuel tanker and a refueling ship, or as a guided missile.

Maximum altitude
Cruise altitude
100 feet
20 feet
1,500 knots
90,000 feet
15,000 n.m.
65,000 feet

This type could be used as a fighter interceptor, as a ground-support aircraft, or as a guided missile.

Maximum altitude
Cruise altitude
30 feet
7 feet
1,500 knots
90,000 feet
65,000 feet
15,000 n.m.

This type could be used as a guided missile.

Maximum altitude
down to 6 feet
down to 2 feet
1,000 knots
90,000 feet
20 to 100 n.m.
Trinidade Island image  

One of the big questions now facing the United States is this: What are the Soviets doing in the disc-aircraft field?

If the United States accepts the possibility of success of circular-shaped aircraft, then it must also conclude that the Soviet Union is capable of developing such aircraft.

If readers assume, at the extreme end of the possibility scale, that the USSR is several years ahead right now, these questions must occur to them

* If the Soviets now have such an aircraft in operational use, would the United States air defense

    HOAX. Faked picture of disc aircraft originated in South
    America in May 1952. Spurious disc is strangely like that
    described in this article. [UNCLASSIFIED]


system be able to detect, identify, intercept and destroy a bomber or reconnaissance aircraft moving at a 1,500 knot
flying bedstead clip at an altitude of 65,000 feet?

* What would be the capability of the Strategic Air command with present-day aircraft to penetrate the Soviet union on bombing missions if the Soviets defended themselves with disc-type interceptor aircraft with the above performance?

     VTOs, 1954. Here are two vertical take-off aircraft.
     Above is the British experimental "Flying Bedstead," as
      homely a creation as ever rolled out of a hangar. In
     tethered flight, it went up and down to prove that jet thrust
     could be used for vertical take-off and landing. Below is
     U.S. Navy's XFY 1, which has been test-flown successfully
      in vertical and horizontal flight. [UNCLASSIFIED]
Discs could take off from land or sea

It is worth repeating that the disc aircraft is a vertical riser. (Some day it may be known simply as a VTO, or vertical take-off aircraft.) this means that it

Navy VTOL aircraft XFY-1 could be housed aboard most naval ships, including submarines. Obviously, a disc aircraft and a sub would make a deadly combination in an offensive operation.

It is estimated that in the space of 30 minutes, a disc could take off from its nesting place on the deck of a sub, climb to 65,000 feet or higher, make a run on a target area 200 to 300 miles inland, drop its bomb load, and zip back home to the sub.

Such an aircraft would

need no long, heavily reinforced concrete  runways. At the most, it would only need a concrete platform to keep  ground personnel and installations from being hit with dust, sand, or gravel. In many instances, a small clearing could provide the disc with a take-off spot. Conclusion: Heads Up!

A great amount of information on the development , flight, and production of circular-type aircraft will be reported and discussed during the next few years. It will behoove the USAF to continue its open-minded interest in all such reports, keeping in mind that reports of saucer-shaped aircraft have an increasingly better chance of being true as the years go by. A new era of flight appears about to begin.





Ser 001712P92
3 FEB 1955



Ref: (a) NA Moscow IR 86-S-54 of 11 June 1954
  (b) December 1954 Informal Letter


Encl: (1) Radar Guidance consisting of pages 23-25 and attachments thereto to ANEEG Summary No. Seven
  (2) ONI Inst. 05500.10 of 18 Jan l955 "Regulation of travel by Soviet Citizens in the United States"
  (3) OP 92B2C Memo for the Record of 21 Dec l954, concerning Accreditation Visit of B. M. Polikarpov
  (4) Ltr from Acting Soviet Naval Attaché Fedorov to Chief, Foreign Liaison Section, ONI, of 13 Jan l955
  (5) Field Activities Report 
  (6) Items of General Interest

1.  Reporting.  Reports of military activities in the Arctic, of scientific, of scientific work there or of ice and weather conditions in general are of particular interest and their continued forwarding is appreciated.

    Report 238-54 from NA, Tangier, not distributed laterally to you, had something interesting to say about the use of radar on the SLAVA and its accompanying whale catchers. On their way through Gibraltar all of them were observed to be fitted out with radar. It is considered to be the largest concentration of radar equipment on commercial type vessels known to this date. The report confirmed the trend of the increased availability of navigational radars for Soviet commercial vessels. From another source information was received to the effect that NEPTUN radars, comparable to those currently used by Western merchantmen, have been installed in increasing numbers of Communist merchant ships during the past two years, As the Soviet Navy has priority in procurement over the merchant marine in electronic equipment, the increase in radar installations in merchant ships indicates the capability of Soviet industry to surpass production requirements of the Navy for this particular type radar.

    The type of propulsion described in your report l74-54 was in use on the eastern waterways about three years ago. It is interesting that this report corroborates the fact by reporting the transport of such craft to the Far East.

2.  Ship, Air and AAA Sightings.  Soviet and Satellite naval vessel, naval, army and air force planes sighted, significant Soviet and Satellite airfield


= = = = = = = = = =


Ser 001712P92
3 FEB 1955

sightings and anti-aircraft artillery sightings should be reported by naval message followed by amplifying written report if appropriate. CINCNEIM, USAREUR and USAFE should be included as information addressees for these reports and COMSIXTHFLT should be similarly included for sightings below 50 deg. parallel North. All message reports should include designation "Pass Air".

3.  Radar Reporting.  It is desired that what are believed to be first sightings of radars of any ship or shore type radar, suspected radar locations and other radar information believed critical or particularly significant such as new details of previously known radars and radar locations be reported by naval message, followed by amplifying intelligence reports. Lateral information addressees should be the same as indicated in paragraph 2 and message reports should include the designation "Pass Air".

    Enclosure (1) is furnished for the purpose of reporting particularly Soviet shipborne radar. Such radars sighted may be reported by their US-UK agreed "nicknames". When message reports are followed by written intelligence reports, use of the agreed "nicknames" is desired without accompanying sketches in cases of positive identity. It is hoped that t his procedure will permit extra time and attention to be devoted to new radars or other equipment about which little or nothing is presently known. Sketches or pictures, annotated as completely as possible with estimated sizes of shipborne radar not appearing in enclosure (1) constitute an important naval intelligence need. Special attention should be paid to their dipole and waveguide dimensions and to their feed arrangements. Rotation and nutation data even of "nicknamed" radars sighted should be included in message reporting.

    A new study, giving complete coverage of Soviet naval electronics equipment, is in the process of being written to replace ONI-26-l.

4.  Pin-Pointing Locations in the Soviet Bloc.  In pin-pointing locations in the Soviet bloc, it is desired that the following instructions be carried out as feasible.

    a. When Air Objective Folder (AOF) materials are available for the area, Horizontal-Vertical (HV) or minimum character coordinates are desired, supplemented when possible by overlays and by reference to kilometer markers or street addresses.

b. When these are not available, distance and azimuth data from known prominent landmarks or positions should be given.



= = = = = = = = = =


Ser 001712P92
3 FEB 1955

    c. When this is not possible. Distance and azimuth data from kilometer marks along routes used under the Joint Travel Program will be most acceptable, with the nearest town mentioned and located by the same kilometer marking system. As much additional verbal description as possible should also be given.

5.  Ex-German type 26 Walther Submarines.  There appears to be a remote possibility that the craft described in enclosure D to British Naval Attaché Moscow's R/S No. 134/54 of 7 June 1954 forwarded in reference (a) could be used as camouflage for the mock-up mentioned in paragraph 5 of reference (b). Its continued observation may dispel any such notion.

6.  Soviet Plane.  According to a report evaluated by B-3 by another agency, a two-seater Soviet A/C with the number 1410Y landed on Koethen Airfield, East Germany, on 4 January, apparently accompanied by five MIG 15's or 17's. Its fuselage appeared slightly longer and thicker than the MIG's but because of weather other distinguishing characteristics could not be noted. The aircraft number 1410Y is reported for the first time. This information is forwarded for background in case a plane with similar markings, etc., is sighted by naval observers.

7.  Circular Type Aircraft.  The Air Force Intelligence Digest, issue of December 1954, contains an interesting article entitled the Flying disk. Of particular interest to Naval personnel in the Soviet Union are statements therein that

    a. Latest information indicates that a turbine powered, circular shaped jet aircraft -- literally a flying turbojet engine -- will be in existence in the West just five years from now,

    b. If the United States accepts the possibility of success of circular-shaped aircraft, then it must also conclude that the Soviet Union is capable of developing such aircraft, and

    c. The disk aircraft is. a vertical riser which means that it could be housed aboard most naval vessels, including; submarines.

    The article further states: "Obviously a disk aircraft and a sub would make a deadly combination in an offensive operation. It is estimated that in the space of thirty minutes, a disk could take off from its nesting place on the deck of a sub, climb to 65,000 feet or higher, make a run on a target area 200 to 300 miles inland, drop its bomb load and zip back home to the sub."

    While it is obvious that the Naval Attaché is alert to reporting data on circular type aircraft should he ever be in a position to gain such information, the above may be of interest on a subject which may assume greater importance in the perhaps not too distant future.



= = = = = = = = = =


Ser 001712P92
3 FEB 1955

8.  JIB London Requests.  It is desired that any informal or formal requests levied directly on you in the past or in the future be reported to this office.

9. Soviet Representation at Washington.  Enclosures (2), (3) and (4) relating to Soviet representatives in Washington are forwarded as of interest. It is suggested that enclosures (3) and (4) be destroyed after perusal.

10.  Personnel.  Capt. Moore, who has been Head, Collection and Dissemination Branch, was transferred in November to relieve captain R.N. Norgaard as Head, Foreign Branch, ONI. Commander E.B. Pugsley has been Assistant Head of the Collection and Dissemination Branch for the past year and will be Acting Head of the Branch until sometime in March 1955 when Captain W.H. Packard is expected to relieve him.

    Captain R. Rutherford, USN, who had been undergoing briefing as your designated relief is not to proceed to Moscow, because of family considerations. You will be informed of a new prospective relief as soon as possible.

11.  Enclosures.  Enclosure (5) is forwarded for information and appropriate action. Enclosure (6) is forwarded for information, guidance and action. Attention is specifically invited to the procedure for handling reports forwarding material received from CAS.

Commander, U. S. Navy
Collection and Dissemination
Office of Naval Intelligence

Copy to:
Op 922V
Op922F1C via Op 922F
Op 922F2



C  U  F  O  NSM
The Computer UFO Network

SYSOP - Jim Klotz
Webmaster - Chris Lambright
Information Director - Dale Goudie

UFO Reporting and Information Service
Director - Dale Goudie
Mail service currently unavailableVoice Line - unavailable

Back to Top of this Page To CUFON Main Page