(College Park, Md.) — It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a UFO? Well, it turns out it was actually one of those things that was being escorted by state police through the Maryland Beltway late Tuesday night, however, it was not what people were hoping for. Many of Maryland’s drivers, residents and pedestrians mistook the seemingly foreign object for a UFO.
“I-495 in Maryland. If this is really aliens that means I’m off work tomorrow,” tweets Black Victor Newman.
The unidentified object was, in fact, an aircraft belonging to the military, which was being escorted from West Virginia to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in southern Maryland, as reported by WJLA ABC 7 News.
The aircraft was being moved on the flatbed of a truck through streets in Maryland. In the middle of the night, from a distance, the 82-foot-long aircraft appeared to many witnesses to be flying on its own.
Despite Maryland State Police’s confirmation that the object did indeed belong to the military, some skeptic witnesses were unconvinced.
Evan Myers, a commuter, questioned WJLA ABC 7, “Why was it covered up on the truck? What exactly is it?”
According to Jamie Cosgrove, public affairs officer of Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, the object was “an unmanned combat air system demonstrator called X-47B” and “was wrapped up for protection.”
Cosgrove says this is the second of two aircrafts of this kind to travel to Maryland; the first was in December 2011.
The latest aircraft was on the last leg of its journey, having traveled from California where it conducted the first phase of flight tests. The aircraft is due to undergo even more tests in Maryland. It is the first unmanned aircraft of its kind, designed to take off and land aboard aircraft carriers.
Maryland State Police reported receiving calls from concerned citizens up until Thursday morning about the object on the beltway Tuesday night.
When asked if the aircraft resembles a UFO when it is unwrapped and in the air, Cosgrove replied, “No, it does not.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Grant Olsen, KSL.com
Lois M. Collins, Deseret News
Grant Olsen, KSL.com