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Official French Gov't UFO study project to resume with new director

Various sources - 10/10/2005

go to original article | fair use notice

The French Government, and its offical national space agency CNES, will restart its official UFO study program. The French gov't has had an offical program to study UFOs for several decades, called GEPAN / SEPRA. It was closed recently, but after an audit, it will now be restarted, with a new director, Yves Sillard.

The French Government, and its offical national space agency CNES, will restart its official UFO study program. The French gov't has had an offical program to study UFOs for several decades, called GEPAN / SEPRA. It was closed recently, but after an audit, it will now be restarted, with a new director, Yves Sillard. This program is an official French government project, and is conducted under the official French space agency CNES (the equivalent of NASA in the US). The new director was a former director of CNES, and has numerous other high positions and achievements to his credit. In an interview with him, he seems to express a very strong support for the subject of UFOs, and advocates the need for serious, rigorous scientific study of the phenomenon. Mr. Sillard's most recent position was Assistant Secretary General for Environmental and Scientific Affairs for NATO.


More information about the French government UFO study program GEPAN / SEPRA, which has been running for several decades:



Background on Yves Sillard, the new director of the French UFO study program.

Link to original page, including photo of Mr. Sillard:


Mr. Sillard was born on 5th January 1936 in Coutances, France.

He joined the Flight Test Centre in 1960 as Ingénieur Général de l'Armement after studying at the Institut Polytechnique and the Ecole Supérieure d'Aérotechnique. In 1964 he took charge of the Concorde programme in the Civil Aviation General Secretariat. The following year, he was made responsible for the construction of the Guyana Space Centre and then for the development of the Ariane rocket programme and finally became general manager of the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) from 1976 to 1982.

From 1982 to 1988 he was Chairman and Manager of the Institut Français pour l'Exploitation de la Mer. He then became Delegate General for Armaments (1989-1993), then Chairman and General Manager of "Défense Conseil International" (1994-1997). Since April 1997 he has been the official representative for space policy attached to the Ministry of Defence.

Mr. Sillard holds an Air Force pilot's licence (1200 flying hours).

Mr. Yves Sillard was appointed as Assistant Secretary General for Scientific and Environmental Affairs with effect from 19th January 1998.


According to researcher Jacques Vallee, the former director of the program Jean-Jacques Velasco will no longer be with the UFO study program (GEPAN-SEPRA).


Information about a recent interview with the new directory of the French Gov't UFO Study program, from Patrick Gross (ufologie.net):


An interview of Yves Sillard was diffused on Radio France International on September 29, 2005. Yves Sillard held positions within the CNES (Ntional Center for Space Studies, the smaller equivalent of NASA for France), the armament, he worked on the Ariane rockets. He had created GEPAN, the group which studied UFO reports within CNES, when he was its director, in 1977.

In the interview, he explains that UFOs are a matter which must be considered seriously, and that CNES now will reactivate its UFO research effort, following an audit of 2001-2002, and provide again reasonable means of operation to this effort.

He specifies that research on UFO reports within CNES "had given up a bit" to "incredible misinformation campaigns which are very often intended to destabilise, to even ridicule those who cover the subject seriously"

He informs that a committee was created, having representatives of the principal organizations "which in France are concerned with that" He lists the National Gendarmerie, the National Police force, Civil Safety, the Air Force, the Civil Aviation, National Meteorology and adds that there will also be initially four scientists specialists in fields which are more or less in connection with UFOs, such as for example "propulsion, electromagnetism, astrophysics and also the social sciences"

He indicates that GEPAN and the SEPRA, during the last years have collected cases "which are documented perfectly, with witnesses whose credentials have been checked, but which are unexplainable by phenomena known today" and that "in face of that one can only make assumptions, and only assumptions"

He adds: "... I think that the Americans practises on the subject to which they devote, I am persuaded of it, much higher efforts of investigation than those of any other country, they practise a deliberated policy and learnedly orchestrated misinformation. It is a total misinformation. What for? Is it the fear to see their supremacy challenged if one day they face a much more advanced external civilization? Is it their concern of keeping for them a potential of technology asset? Or... or any other explanation, who knows"


Computer translation (not perfect) of recent interview with Yves Sillarsd, from Radio France International, September 29, 2005:

Interview of Yves Sillard

Red-headed Vincent : And our 2nd file this evening: in France one calls them Not-identified Aerospace Phenomena , but they are more known under the name of UFOS. They can fascinate or make smile, but they interest also the scientists . CNES , the French space agency, with thus deciding to start again its activities of observation and analysis of these phenomena. A steering committee was created to restart this sector, and our guest this evening is the president of this steering committee: Yves Sillard . Good evening...

Yves Sillard : Good evening... (to smile)

Red-headed Vincent : Then Yves Sillard your course is impressive; you worked on the program Concorde , you were then one of the fathers of ARIANE , you directed the CNES , then be a General manager of the Armament. As much to say Yves Sillard that if it were asked you that if one asked you to direct this committee on the observation of the UFOS, it is that one wants to approach very seriously.

Yves Sillard : It is a subject which it is necessary to tackle with rigour, serious, and without having preconceived ideas nor to be afraid of its shade; it is a very interesting subject besides.

Red-headed Vincent : And it is a scientific glance, which it is necessary to carry on the question...

Yves Sillard : A rigorous and scientific glance... here.

Red-headed Vincent : Then in the event it is a question of reactivating a structure which existed, the GEPAN, the Grouping of Study of the Not Identified Aerospace Phenomena . Why this GEPAN which had been created in 1977 then was put a little in sleep?

Yves Sillard : Eh Ben listen... They are there a phenomenon... this phenomenon of... the problem of the Phenomena of Aerospace Not-identified which is very serious, which brings into play multiple witnesses who are worthy of faith, which wonders about the nature of the observations that they could make, and which wait rightly of the answers to the questions until they are posed. I thus return very small little behind. And thus for me it is role of the CNES to try to answer these waitings, even if in certain cases the answer is not easy to formulate. And I had created the GEPAN , from which you come to speak, to this end in 1977 , when I was a general manager of the CNES , and this GEPAN functioned perfectly. Unfortunately, this subject, which requires as one has just said it to be approached with a total rigour scientific, makes, very often, the object of impassioned reactions, "for", "against", etc and then of incredible misinformation campaigns which are very often intended for destabiliser, to even ridicule those which cover the subject seriously. Then in the last years  one can say since about fifteen years  eh Ben the CNES a little yielded to these campaigns misinformation; and one to that, which was made in the years 2001-2002, which implied the hearing of many personalities, recommended to give again to the GEPAN of the normal means of operation  without him to give fantastic means of course  and to make supervise and direct its activities by by a steering committee which associates all the various organizations which are concerned with the study of this phenomenon. And here are, these recommendations were followed by Yannick d' Escatha , which is the current president of the CNES , and from where the 1st meeting of the steering committee.

Red-headed Vincent : ... that you thus chaired.

Yves Sillard : Here.

Red-headed Vincent : With which you will work on these questions?

Yves Sillard : Then the committee is very clearly made up if you want now. It associates a certain number of people of the CNES and then représenants of the principal organizations which in France are concerned with that. Is these organizations, it what? It is the National Gendarmerie , the National police force, Civil Safety, the Air Force, the Civil aviation, National Meteorology. And in addition to the organizations, we have some scientists, 4 scientists in one the 1st time, which is specialists, who have activities in fields which, in near or by far, can interest the subject. For example propulsion, electromagnetism, astrophysics and also social sciences.

Red-headed Vincent : That serious people what, therefore (to smile). Then in spite of the risks of the GEPAN , that makes about thirty years that the CNES accumulates information, reports/ratios, observations... Are there interesting phenomena in these observations, of the things which one did not know to explain?

Yves Sillard : Then yes if you want the CNES initially developed a very rigorous methodology to collect testimonys and to analyze these testimonys in order to create a data base which exists today and which is completely remarkable. And in France , between 1951 and today  because the CNES ... the GEPAN made up in 1977 went up a little upstream  there are several thousands of cases which were recorded, including in particular nearly 200 cases which result from observations on board planes. Then all these cases and all these testimonys were the subject of an extremely rigorous classification as I said it to you, and finally the CNES classified all these phenomena of... over these 50 last years in 4 categories: one 1st category that one calls the Not identified Aerospace Phenomena of category A, SIDE A, which are perfectly identified things; the SIDE B which is things almost surely perfectly identified, then one 3rd category, the SIDE C, that it is those which are not exploitable because information is not usable really... it is lack of information, not clearness of testimonys, etc and finally last case which is the SIDE D, which them are documented perfectly, with witnesses whose one could check quality, but which is unexplainable by phenomena known today.

Red-headed Vincent : And they about represent which proportion?

Yves Sillard : Then it is about 15 % of the total. Then if one removes the cases which are not usable because they are not interesting, one can think that they would be distributed about in the same way between unexplainable cases and case explicables, one can say in a simple way that there are 75 to 76 % of identified cases  identified well, one knows what it is  and then 25 % of not identified cases, which are unexplainable by the phenomena currently known.

Red-headed Vincent : Then precisely is the observation of these aerospace phenomena it, intellectually, scientifically stimulant I imagine? Does Ca hustle a little?

Yves Sillard : Ah Ben it is stimulative... i.e., that must be stim... because you know that a certain number of scientists refuse, by saying "it is impossible, therefore that does not exist"; thus that, obviously, that does not appear scientist very to us. On the other hand when one gives oneself the sorrow of réfl... to look with serious and in all objectivity all these cases, of which some are not only cases with of visual observations of serious witnesses but also with... of others. some with traces... of the echoes radar recorded by planes... euh... by airborne radars and radars on the ground... euh... in a certain number of cases of the traces of landings and of... how to say... deterioration of the vegetation... all that is extremely serious and raises questions. And today obviously one cannot vis-a-vis all that putting forth only assumptions, and only assumptions.

Red-headed Vincent : And being what that can help, that can have scientific applications, that can precisely push research in certain fields?

Yves Sillard : Ah Ben listen certainly, because one is quite naturally brought to seek to explain a certain number of these cases... one has well the feeling which they are the mobiles having of the much higher evolutions if I then to say to the air and space mobiles that we know to currently send... and then in addition they rather curious effects on the communications have, the instruments... all that calls explanations and a certain number of research can be made to try to explain a little how this kind of phenomena can occur.

Red-headed Vincent : Last question Yves Sillard : did American "invent" this phenomenon UFOS a little... today they still continue their research? One speaks about it much less...

Yves Sillard : Then if you want, officially, American gave up all research on the UFOS after the dépot of a report/ratio which is called Rapport Condon in 1969 . Then, if I have 1 more mn, I can to say simply that this report/ratio, curiously, which revealed in the body of the report/ratio 30 % of phenomena observed which were completely unexplainable, it concluded by saying that the continuation of the study was not of interest. There was a major anomaly between the conclusions and the remainder. Then actually, me I think that American practises on the subject  to which they devote, I am persuaded of it, of the efforts of investigation much higher than those of any other country  they practise a deliberated policy and learnedly orchestrated misinformation. It is the total misinformation... Then with a which aim? Is it a fear to see their given supremacy concerned if one day one were vis-a-vis an external civilization much more advanced... Is they a concern of keeping for them a potential asset of technology... one in... or any other explanation, one knows anything of it.

Red-headed Vincent : Yves Sillard , thank you. Thank you for these explanations, thank you to have been with us on RFI, good evening.

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