Condign: The Condign Report




The author of the report uses the phrase UAP throughout because the MoD’s Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) regard UFO as “discredited.” The phrase “aerial phenomena” has in fact been in use by the RAF to describe UFOs since at least 1952. UAP does not have the “extraterrestrial” connotations associated with UFOs and a more detailed discussion of the use of this acronym can be found in the section describing the background to the study.

The report consists of 465 pages divided into four parts which include three volumes and an Executive Summary. The full titles and original security classification of each volume is as follows:

  • UAP in the UKADR: Executive Summary
  • UAP in the UKADR Volume 1: Main Report [RESTRICTED]
    This volume contains the main body of the report including historical background, analysis methodology, a summary of the UAP database and its findings, potential related military technology and summary of study findings.
  • UAP in the UKADR Volume 2: Information of Associated Natural and Man-Made Phenomena [RESTRICTED]
    This volume contains 25 Working Papers, in no particular priority order, resulting from information collected and conclusions drawn from a wide variety of sources which have been applied to the study of UAPs. The papers include UAP effects on Humans/Electronic equipment and objects, Exotic Technologies, Black and other Aircraft programmes, Detection of UAPs by Radar and many papers covering natural phenomena such as sunspots, aurora, mirages, vortex rings, sprites, elves and blue jets.
  • UAP in the UKADR Volume 3: Miscellaneous Related Studies [SECRET]
    This volume was classified overall Secret because “it contains performance values of the UKADR radars [and] radar performance is directly relevant to whether UAPs can enter and leave UK airspace and whether they constitute a threat.” Other material includes Potential Hazards to Aircraft; Potential for Exploitation of UAP-associated effects and UAP Work in Other Countries (former Soviet Union, China, Spain, USA & Canada).

Key points to emerge from the MoD report on UAPs

  1. UAPs exist but they are not space ships. They are natural, atmospheric and other phenomena, some of which are not fully understood.
  2. Although extremely rare, UAPs may pose a hazard to air traffic. No evidence for the existence of solid objects was found by the study but some natural phenomena, such as plasmas, could be dangerous to aircraft particularly those flying low and fast (a risk assessed as being lower than bird strikes).
  3. UAPs do not pose a threat to UK airspace, and there is no evidence they are aircraft from hostile nations.
  4. Despite claims of an international UFO cover-up, there has been absolutely no collaboration between UK and other countries on the subject of UAPs.
  5. Some UAPs may represent over-flying military black projects from friendly powers.
  6. There are no artefacts left by UAPs, or radiation traces, or any useful video or still camera photos held by MoD.
  7. MoD is keenly interested in research by scientists in the former Soviet Union into UAPs and their possible military applications.
  8. One outcome of the study was a recommendation that further research should be carried out into the possible military applications of plasma-type phenomena, such as battlefield weapons and decoys.
  9. The MoD relied upon poor quality data (single page UFO report forms) for their raw data for the study and were not allowed to interview witnesses. The limitations of scientific evaluation based on such poor data are acknowledged.
  10. The study identified definitive links between clusters of UAP reports and meteor showers.

Other items of interest to emerge from the report and associated papers include:

  • Condign is the only (so far as we know) serious attempt by the British Government to study the thousands of UFO reports received by the Ministry of Defence since the Flying Saucer Working Party’s Report in 1951.
    • Until today “the Condon Report” produced by the University of Colorado for the US Air Force in 1969 was believed to be the only substantial Government-funded study of the UFO phenomenon published in English.
    • The MoD say that Condign was a randomly generated word and “any similarity with ‘Condon’ is purely coincidental.”
    • The circulation list reveals that the supposed focal point for all UFO matters at Whitehall – the so-called “UFO desk” – did not receive a copy and were unaware of the contents of the report until it was made the subject of an FOIA request by David Clarke in September 2005.
    • While the study found that the majority of sightings could be explained as mistaken identifications of natural and man-made phenomena – it could not fully explain away a residue of “natural but relatively rare and not completely understood phenomena” in the atmosphere, mesosphere and ionosphere.
    • A small amount of material has been deleted from the document on the grounds that a) it “consists of details of the operation and performance of UK radar” that could be of use to terrorist organisations and b) that it contains information supplied by another nation (the United States of America).
    • Intelligence briefings attached to the report state that “Russia believes that such phenomena exist and has a small team studying them...[and] an informal group exists in the US intelligence community and it is possible this reflects a more formal organisation.”
    • The completion of the report effectively ended the involvement of Britain’a Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) in UFO matters from December 2000.
    • The Condign report was classified SECRET – contrary to previous public statements that the topic of UFOs was not classified.

Circulation of the Report

According to an internal MoD minute dated 4 December 2000 announcing completion of the study, only the Director General (Research & Technology) along with DI 55 and DI51 received copies of all four volumes.

DG(R&T) was, in 2000, Mr Mike Martin CBE, who later became the MoD’s Science and Technical Director. According to the Civil Service Yearbook (2004) this post “supports the Chief Scientific Adviser and provides scientific advice including technical scrutiny of equipment projects.”

The UK Air Defence Ground Environment (UKADGE) received the Executive Summary and Volume 3 which contains “sensitive” material related to the limitations of UK radar in the detection of UAPs.

Summaries of the UAP Report were sent to the Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence (DCDI), to the Inspectorate of Flight Safety (RAF) and to HQ MATO [Military Air Traffic Organisation, RAF Uxbridge], which ceased to exist in 2001 following a merger with Strike Command. Significantly, in their covering letter DIST added:

“…while most of the report is classified as only SECRET we hardly need remind addressees of the media interest and consequently the sensitivity of the report. Please protect accordingly, and discuss the report only with those who have a need to know.”


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