Project Condign

Project Condign was a secret UFO study by the British Defence Intelligence Staff between 1996 and 2000. The results of the project were drawn on UFO reports that were obtained in the period of 1975 – 1997 by the DI55, a section of the Directorate of Scientific and Technical Intelligence. Under the Freedom of Information Act, it was released into the public domain in 2006.

The aim of the study was to "determine the potential value, if any, of UAP sighting reports [...] to ascertain whether there is any evidence of a threat to the UK, and secondly, should the opportunity arise, to identify any potential military technologies of interest."

For the project, a computerised database was created and filled with information contained in DI55 files dating back to 1975. Next it was tried to arrive at a possible explanation of UFO events. Afterwards, the database was destroyed. Unlike the American Condon report, who had a team, Project Condign was the product of one man. The report relied upon poor quality data, single page UFO report forms, and the author was not authorized to interview witnesses.

Conclusions

The Executive Summary of the report "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena in the UK Air Defence Region" states:

"That UAP exist is indisputable. Credited with the ability to hover, land, take-off, accelerate to exceptional velocities and vanish, they can reportedly alter their direction of flight suddenly and clearly can exhibit aerodynamic characteristics well beyond those of any knownaircraft or missile — either manned or unmanned."

The anonymous author continues writing that:

"No evidence exists to associate the phenomena with any particular nation"

"No evidence exists to suggest that the phenomena seen are hostile or under any type of control, other than that of natural physical forces".

The "summary of findings" reads:

"Based on all the available evidence [...] the information studied [...] leads to the conclusion that it does not have any significant Defence Intelligence value. However, the Study has uncovered a number of technological issues that may be of potential defence interest."

Commentary

While the study concluded that the majority of sightings can be explained as mistaken identifications of natural and man-made phenomena, it could not explain away a residue of "natural but relatively rare and not completely understood phenomena". This residue was attributed to electrically charged so-called "buoyant plasmas", mostly the result of atmospheric electrical events such as lightning, some caused by the vaporisation of meteors.

These plasmas would sometimes create the appearance of a "black triangle" by refracting light: "... what have frequently been reported as black 'craft', often triangular and even up to hundreds of feet in length".

The energy fields were hypothesized to "adversely affect a vehicle or person [...] at very close ranges". The electromagnetic field could be responsible for "responses in the temporal lobes of the human brain. These result in the observer sustaining (and later describing and retaining) his or her own vivid, but mainly incorrect, description of what is experienced". Further on it reads: "Radiated effects are reported in some very rare instances to be sufficient to cause scorching of human skin and damage to nearby terrestrial objects".

The author does not believe that solid objects were responsible for the not explained sightings. He wrote that "a gaseous/plasma entity" would "give the appearance of a solid object".

It's clear that the speculations about "plasmas" are only the opinion of the report's author. He wrote: "The conditions for the initial formation and sustaining of what are apparently buoyant charged masses, which can form, separate, merge, hover, climb, dive and accelerate are not completely understood" and "Because of the absence of actual UAP field measurements the potential of these possibilities have been examined using the available theory".

The study recommended further investigation "into the applicability of various characteristics of plasmas in novel military applications". It stated that "scientists in the former Soviet Union [...] are pursuing related techniques for potential military purposes. For example, very high power energy creation, RF Weapons, Impulse Radars, air vehicle drag and radar signature reduction control, and possibly for radar reflecting decoys".

With regard to flight safety aspects, project Condign recommended: "No attempt should be made to out-manoeuvre a UAP during interception".

The completion of the report ended the involvement of Britain’s Defence Intelligence Staff in UFO matters in December 2000.