News of the incident was first reported by the Drive, which wrote that deck logs obtained under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) shows warships near the “sensitive” military training range in the Channel Islands were regularly buzzed for days by drones. The unidentified aerial vehicles began their “prolonged” runs in the evening, often during low visibility conditions. The Drive also used “hundreds of gigabytes of automatic identification system (AIS) ship location data to forensically reconstruct” the occurrences. The AIS data showed that the drones focused on the Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Kidd, but the USS Rafael Peralta, USS Russell, USS John Finn, and USS Paul Hamilton were nearby, some of which were involved.
The combination of ship logs and AIS data showed that the drones were in operation for well over 90 minutes, beyond the capabilities of typical commercial units, and that their existence was independently confirmed by sightings by the cruise liner Carnival Imagination. Naval investigators attempted to identify what the craft were or who was operating them to no avail (a nearby catamaran, the ORV Alguita, denied having drones capable of carrying out such an operation).