is the only documented case of a combat aircraft opening
fire against a UFO.
On the morning of 11 April 1980, personnel from the Fuerza
Aerea Peruana (FAP) base in La Joya, Arequipa, a thousand
kilometers south of the Peruvian capital, detected a strange
object flying in the vicinity.
the time, the La Joya air base was considered one of the
most strategic and secret in Perú due to its proximity
to the Chilean border, a country against which a war was
nearly unleashed years earlier. The base had underground
facilities in the desert pampas, where valuable combat
aircraft were concealed.
that the intruder was a spy aircraft, the base commander
ordered an immediate scramble of a Sukhoi SU-22 fighter-bomber
with orders to destroy the target, originally supposed
to be a sort of aerostat balloon located 5 kilometers
away. The time was 7:15 a.m. and base personnel
a complement of some 1800 men were in formation,
witnesses to this event.
Santa María Huertas, at the time a lieutenant in
the FAP, commanded the aircraft that raced down the runway
before lifting itself skyward on an intercept-and-destroy
moment the object was within his sights, suspended and
motionless some 600 meters over the ground, Lt. Santa
María pulled the trigger, firing a powerful hail
of bullets from his aircrafts 30mm guns. Sixty-four
rounds out of a total of 160 were fired against the UFO.
rounds appeared to pierce the object without exploding
or causing any harm. The object then hurled itself skyward
at a tremendous speed, chased by the Soviet-made interceptor.
The UFO then gained speed. Santa María lit the
afterburners, propelling the Sukhoi to Mach 1.2, breaking
the sound barrier.
to that moment, the object had not been detected by radar.
For this reason, the Peruvian pilot did not avail himself
of the planes missiles. He only sought to get close
enough to the object to fire again, having over 100 rounds
the Peruvian Sukhoi was already near the UFO, the object
made a sudden stop, violating the laws of inertia. The
fighter-bomber flew past it, with both vehicles at an
altitude of 11,000 meters (36,000 feet) the object
pulled away quickly, gaining altitude at the same time.
Later, it stopped abruptly, and I had to maneuver to avoid
colliding with it, said Santa María.
was thus that Lt. Santa María and his aircraft
went from being hunters to prey. He was being pursued
by the UFO at 19,000 meters (62,000 feet), nearly 1000
meters beyond the aircraft manufacturers specifications.
Furthermore, his fuel supply was running low.
with this situation, Oscar Santa María decided
to abandon his mission and withdraw, even as the UFO continued
to ascend, losing itself in space. He was eighty-four
kilometers away from his base, and 22 minutes had elapsed
since his first contact with the UFO.
landing, the UFO reappeared, remaining visible to the
air base for nearly two hours.
authorities jealously guarded this incident and it recently
came to light during a declassification of documents by
the U.S. Department of State. Researchers interviewed
Oscar Santa María, the now-retired fighter commander,
and their report appeared in History Channel, becoming
known worldwide through cable TV broadcasts. It should
be noted that Santa María had been speaking of
the matter for a number of years in several American and
to UFO experts, this is the only case in which a military
aircraft has attached a UFO. There was a similar case,
but the pilot was unable to fire against the unknown object.
On the other hand, the Peruvian did make use of his weapons,
firing a total of 64 rounds.
aggressiveness, determination and dexterity of the Peruvian
pilot should be noted, as he attacked his target without
hesitation, flew his aircraft to its design limits, and
returned intact to its base.
total of 52 Sukhoi-22 fighter bombers (SU-17s in the USSR)
entered into service in Peru three years before the incident,
and had been combat-ready for two years prior to the encounter.
They participated in the two most recent conflicts with
Ecuador, and after several refurbishments and upgrades
in which they were equipped with electronic, optical and
countermeasures, some 20 units remain in service, although
some accounts suggest that they have been completely removed
Santa María described the object he attacked: It
was an object with a blued dome, looking like a light
bulb split in half, with a wide metal base that made everything
shine. When I approached and saw it completely, I realized
that it lacked nozzles, wings, windows, antennae...nothing
at all. It was a very smooth surface above and below.
is another undocumented case in which a Peruvian aircraft,
fearing an attack, had fired a missile against a UFO three
years prior to this incident.