Despite the new common wisdom about jet contrails, an editor for Jane’s Defence Weekly says that missile-like objected spotted off the coast of California was definitely a missile.
But Doug Richardson, the editor of Jane’s Missiles and Rockets, examined the video for the Times of London and said he was left with little doubt.
“It’s a solid propellant missile,” he told the Times. “You can tell from the efflux [smoke].”
Richardson said it could have been a ballistic missile launched from a submarine or an interceptor, the defensive anti-missile weapon used by Navy surface ships.
For its part, the military says the object wasn’t a missile but, contrary to speculation elsewhere, isn’t ready to conclude that it was just a jet’s contrail. So…what else could it be? Well, it may have been a private missile. Although the FAA, which issues licenses for commercial launches, says no launch was scheduled for that day.
I honestly don’t have a clue what this was. You have the military denying it was a missile but then they would do that if it was supposed to be a secret launch, right? Then you have some people say it’s a jet’s contrail. And then you have an editor for Jane‘s saying it was definitely a missile.
Here’s what I do know: More than 24 hours after this thing was spotted, there’s no definitive explanation. And that’s a little worrisome.