'It is only a matter of time' before an aircraft crashes into a UFO on Earth, a top politician has warned.

The world needs to step up its probe into 143 unexplained close encounters between unidentified aerial phenomena – or UAP – and military jets before tragedy strikes, according to US Congressman Tim Burchett.

Though defence chiefs and US space agency NASA have launched separate probes into potential alien craft the 57-year-old politician has warned progress has not been quick enough.

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He has called on the US Government to make public all the records it holds on UFO sightings and Top Gun pilots who claim to have had close encounters to be called to give evidence to Congress.

Tim, former mayor of Knox County, Tennessee, expressed frustration defence chiefs have so far only been able to find an explanation for one of 144 reported sightings since 2004.

He claimed the search for the truth is being hampered by a lack of transparency 'which isn’t just unfair to the public but it could put the safety of our pilots in jeopardy'.

"Plenty of military pilots have reported UAP encounters that have no logical explanation," he said.

"Some of them have warned it was only a matter of time before an aircraft got into a mid-air collision with an unexplained object.

"Yet despite these warnings and reports the first standardised reporting structure wasn’t established until 2019. Our government has been surprisingly quiet about the topic for many decades despite the many reports."

Earlier this year US Congress held its first hearing on UFOs in over a half century.

One unexplained sighting was a video shot by military aircraft showing a UFO buzzing a US Navy ship off the Californian coast in July 2019.

The Tic Tac-shaped object flew above the Pacific for a few minutes before seemingly vanishing beneath the ocean surface.

As it disappeared military personnel could be heard saying: "It splashed."

Defence chiefs said the footage was real and showed a mystery craft with technology that appeared up to 1,000 years ahead of anything known to the military.

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In June, NASA announced it is forming a team of space boffins to probe such 'unidentified aerial phenomena'.

The team will spend nine months examining evidence before producing a report that will be made public.

A spokesman for the space agency said while there was no evidence 'the sightings were extra-terrestrial in origin' it accepted 'unidentified phenomena in the atmosphere are of interest for both national security and air safety'.

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