The secretive Ministry of Defence (MoD) unit was axed in 2009 but is now reportedly being run by a shadowy US colonel within a stone’s throw of the offices of 20th Century Fox – producers of many a science fiction blockbuster.
Now US-funded, the group has mainly American staff but still employs a number of Britons to pore over the real-life X-Files.
According to the Express, the unidentified military official regularly visits from Washington to keep tabs on the intergalactic activities monitored from 7 Soho Square.
“There was pressure from a similar unit in the Pentagon which wanted to incorporate the MoD unit,” a military source told the Express on Sunday.
“It was decided to move the unit to Soho Square and I understand that it now has a number of American personnel.
“The relocation was even accidentally published in the MoD’s magazine, though few noticed,” the source claimed, adding that although it is now a Pentagon operation, the unit still reports “directly to the MoD.”
It is reported that while X-Files are still on the agenda, much of the unit’s work now concerns the militarization of space.
Some of its efforts appear to concern Project Condign – a secret and far-reaching MoD investigation into UFOs released under Freedom of Information laws in 2005.
Researchers claim that some sightings may be attributable to atmospheric plasma, which might in turn lead to the discovery of “novel military applications” including advanced laser weapons.
Nick Pope, former head of the UK military’s UFO division, told the Express that “atmospheric plasmas may or may not be at least a partial solution to the UFO mystery.”
He said it is the potential for weaponization which “might have caught the attention of the US government.”
“When the MoD’s UFO project was axed in 2009 a much more narrowly focused research effort may have taken its place, following up on Project Condign’s recommendations that further work should be done on the potential for novel military applications,” Pope said.
He suggested that the change of management and direction might have been to stop unwanted oversight.
“An office undertaking such work might be regarded as sufficiently different from what went on before to avoid counting as misleading Parliament, as it could be regarded as a new, standalone initiative,” he said.
One think-tanker told the paper that she would not be surprised if the UK and US had maintained their interest in space technology.
“Space is becoming increasingly contested and congested.
Some of this is peaceful, some of it has dual use and some distinctly nefarious.
Russia and China particularly are active,” Liz Quintana, head of military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), told the paper.