|Occurred : 9/2/1999 21:00 (Entered as : 09/02/1999 21:00)
Reported: 11/12/2003 3:45:13 AM 03:45
Location: Seward, AK
|US Navy's "Classic Wizard", aka "White Cloud"
I am writing in response to an observation that was posted that incluided an accompanying request for information from anyone knowing what was being observed. This was most likely the Navy's "Classic Wizard" system. You may read about it from a Russian report here:
The brief description of the observation was excellent, leading to almost perfect confirmation of this being a White Cloud sighting. Hope this helps.
As a synopsis, the White Cloud system has been know under other names, but its salient characteristic is always three satellites moving together and visible at approximately magnitude 2.5 to 3.5 in the night sky. The posted observation reports the satellites in triangle formation. This should almost always be true.
Due to the nature of orbital mechanics, the orbits of any two of the satellites must always intersect twice during each complete orbiting of the Earth as viewed from the ground. The slightly elliptical orbits mean that the satellites are at slightly differing orbital altitudes during each orbital intersection. Most of the time the White cloud formation will appear to be triangular, however it will occaisionally appear to for a very distorted triangle, or even a straight line.
It is possible that other agencies or other governments have ELINT tri-satellite systems in orbit, but the US Navy is the only agency I am aware of that uses this system in an orbital characteristic to create visible triangle formations. By looking for electromagnetic emissions on the ocean and matching the patterns and characteristics of the emissions to a database, the satellites are able to identify with a high degree of accuracy the type of surface craft and country of origin. Each satellite can do this, but to triangulate the exact targetting of such a vessel for an over the horizon strike, three satellites are necessary.
It is interesting to know this from Russian publications on the web. If the information was not available in such a format, I would not write about it here. Even so, I prefer to remain anonymous, as the national security laws may be misused.
((NUFORC Note: We express our gratitude to the source of this report, who chooses to remain totally anonymous. PD))