Project Condign: the UK Ministry of Defence’s secret UFO study (1996–2000)
In May 2006 a secret study of UFOs that had been undertaken for the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) between 1996 and 2000 was publicly released. The
report is titled “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena in the UK Defence Region” and was code-named Project Condign.
The author of the report, whose identity is not known, was an MoD contractor
with high security clearance and evident scientific training. He was given free
access to all material on UFOs retained by the MoD and was able to speak openly
about whatever he found.
The report was not written for publication and remained so secret that only a
handful of people were ever shown it when it was completed in 2000. It was
released after an application under the Freedom of Information Act by Dr David
Clarke, a lecturer in journalism at Sheffield Hallam University, England, who
discovered its existence. Without Dr Clarke’s sleuthing this report might well not have been released for another 25 years,
The full report covers three volumes and totals 460 pages. Throughout it, the
term UAP, meaning Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, is used in place of UFO. The
report confirms earlier findings that the main causes of sightings are misidentification of man-made and natural
More controversially, the report’s author became persuaded that atmospheric electrical effects such as ball
lightning and other forms of plasma might well account for many of the
otherwise unexplained sightings. Most skeptics would accept that some small
percentage of reports may be due to such electrical effects, but they are just
one among many hundreds of possible explanations.
More significantly, the report notes: “No artefacts of unknown or unexplained origin have been reported or handed to
the UK authorities, despite thousands of UAP reports. There are no SIGINT,
ELINT or radiation measurements and little useful video or still IMINT.”
It further concludes: “There is no evidence that any UAP, seen in the UKADR [UK Air Defence Region],
are incursions by air-objects of any intelligent (extra-terrestrial or foreign)
origin, or that they represent any hostile intent.”
But perhaps the most significant deduction to be drawn from the report is this:
if the MoD really knew the truth about UFOs, as many believers allege, then
they would not have needed to commission a three-year study to tell them.
Read Dr David Clarke’s discussion of Project Condign here.
Download the full report from the MoD’s own website here.
Page added 2006 May