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Surface-To-Air Missiles At London Olympics 395

Posted by samzenpus
from the gold-medal-launch dept.
First time accepted submitter TheGift73 writes "I have to admit, when I first read about this I thought it was a hoax, but unfortunately it's true. The UK government is considering placing surface-to-air missiles on residential buildings in London for the duration of the London Olympics. From the article: 'The Ministry of Defence is considering placing surface-to-air missiles on residential flats during the Olympics. An east London estate, where 700 people live, has received leaflets saying a "Higher Velocity Missile system" could be placed on a water tower. A spokesman said the MoD had not yet decided whether to deploy ground based air defence systems during the event.'"
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Surface-To-Air Missiles At London Olympics

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2012 @11:08PM (#39841555)


  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2012 @11:49PM (#39841787)

    But we can scramble supersonically and the exclusion zone is large enough that anything save a hostile invasion force is probably going to be flying slow enough to intercept before it reaches the olympic site.

    The zone is nearly 100 miles across. 50 miles at 500kts is around 5 minutes. The Eurofighters are going to be based at Northolt, within the area and around maybe 20 miles from the stadium. At speed they could get there in a minute or two.

    There will be an AWACS flying around at all times as well as the usual ATC services looking out for unidentified aircraft. Radar is pretty good these days, if you fly in on anything of reasonable size without telling them, they will find you and they will scramble something after you.

    I fail to see how just having fast jets on alert isn't enough?

  • Re:loss of words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gideon Wells (1412675) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @11:58PM (#39841825)

    Ditto... I'm not so cynical of governments to deny that terrorist attacks have been made at the Olympics in even relatively peaceful times. But surface-to-air missiles? Why?

    What is the minimum threshold for an airborne projectile's size to be shot down? After a certain threshold I start having trouble seeing someone lobbing a rocket/missile at the Olympics just because of the Olympics. Not only would it be practically a declaration of war against everyone in the world, but surely there would be more damaging targets if you just wanted to harm the UK.

  • Where went wrong? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomthepom (314977) on Monday April 30, 2012 @12:06AM (#39841867)

    I thought that we invaded Iraq to make us safer. I thought the war in Afghanistan would make us safer. They told us that all this war, imprisonment without trial, assassination, torture, mass surveillance, nude scans and enhanced pat downs would make us safer.
    And yet now, after more than ten years of this, we've reached the stage that we're considering placing surface to fucking air missiles on top of people's houses in the middle of London.
    What the hell happened? Are we losing this 'war on terror'?

  • other way around? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KingAlanI (1270538) on Monday April 30, 2012 @12:19AM (#39841911) Homepage Journal

    maybe sports are a way to channel certain instincts without the massive damage of war

  • by siddesu (698447) on Monday April 30, 2012 @12:38AM (#39842003)
    Sounds cool, too bad your article finishes in mid-sentence. Does this rocket work well against someone on a motorcycle with a backpack full of explosives?
  • by DarwinSurvivor (1752106) on Monday April 30, 2012 @12:48AM (#39842059)
    Can we have a -1 basic grammar option for moderators?
  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Monday April 30, 2012 @12:58AM (#39842099) Journal

    Unless their exclusion zone is measured in a circle at least 100km wide (are we going to shut down Heathrow, then?), there won't be time to detect an inbound jet, sufficiently determine its intent, get permission to arm the weaponry, then actually shoot it down. At least, not with any confidence that the result avoids hitting buildings and population.

    Not anywhere around London anyway... This is why I'm fairly safe in my assumption that by the time a missile launches, the jet will likely be in its terminal dive, or close enough to it to not really matter otherwise.

  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:09AM (#39842161) Journal

    Well, Buckingham Palace has a pretty low population density compared to its surrounding environs. I'm pretty sure if a plane smacked that it would raise a few complaints...

    Long story short, there's really no part of that town that isn't heavily populated, a historical icon of some sort, or considered to be important as hell for some other reason. The best you could hope for is to knock it in the Thames, but doing that would require some real super-human planning and execution, and not a little bit of luck.

  • by Pesticidal (1148911) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:17AM (#39842177)
    Their relevant what? Finish your sentence please.
  • by Dahamma (304068) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:53AM (#39842311)

    A big ball of flame dissipating from 1000' is a lot better than a big ball of flame exploding on the ground, or IN a building. If the planes crashing into the World Trade Towers had exploded (and therefore released most of the fuel that caused the superstructure to melt) even 100' before they reached the buildings they'd still be standing today.

  • by xmundt (415364) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:59AM (#39842323)

    Greetings and Salutations;
              No...we are not LOSING the war on Terror. We, the citizens, have already LOST it. We have turned over unprecedented amounts of power and control to the government, and given up many of the liberties that our ancestors shed rivers of blood to take for themselves. It seems to me that the citizens of America and Great Britain have been turned into mewling, fearful infants by the deliberate actions taken by the government to re-enforce the idea that the only "safe" path is to let the "authorities" handle any situation. At least in America, have been brainwashed into an almost insane belief that life should be perfectly safe and any time that anything goes awry, we are to run to the government to fix the problem! While our love of CCTV cameras scattered around populated areas does run behind that of the government of Great Britain, it appears that the US government is rushing to catch up. It used to be that the only people that were under 24 hour per day surveillance were the prisoners in maximum security prisons. Using the Boogie Man of terrorist attacks, our governments seem to be on the road to turning the entire country into a high security prison.
              I fear that we have become an embarrassment to the spirits of our Grandparents, who showed such courage and strength of will during the horrors of the 2d World War. Can we regain that legacy? Change is always possible, but, I do not think that there is the strength of will left to do so. Rather, we will continue to accept the lies of the government, and continue to curl up into a little ball, hoping that if we ignore the problems, they will all go away.
            On that happy thought....
            Pleasant Dreams
            Bee Man Dave

  • by Waccoon (1186667) on Monday April 30, 2012 @02:02AM (#39842337)

    Oh, it gets worse than that... it's pure idiocy to even try using the things as a defense.

    Silly me. All this time I thought it was just more security theater / thinking-of-the-children / penis extension.

    Frankly, I find it amusing. Why bother getting a bomb on the plane when you can just shoot one instead?

  • by The Archon V2.0 (782634) on Monday April 30, 2012 @02:10AM (#39842369)
    I wonder what the odds of a misfire vs. the odds of someone actually attacking are. Sadly it wouldn't surprise me to find out the missiles are a bigger threat.
  • by gl4ss (559668) on Monday April 30, 2012 @02:49AM (#39842485) Homepage Journal

    but the army boys! think of the poor army boys! this is their only chance to get in on some hot olympic tourist action.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2012 @03:06AM (#39842559)

    i am an conscript in estonian defence forces in air defence batallion, i man a radar station and control fire of VSHORAD-s(Mistral) and AAA(ZU-23-2 "Sergei"). in private life i fly gliders as a hobby. so you could say i see both sides of the equation: pilots point of view and SAM operators point of view. and i say you can deffinetly avert the cource of passanger plane off a stadium full of people. sure it would still fall into a populated area but pretty much anything is better than a stadium full of people. using SAM-s at olympics isnt anything new eighter. speed is not a problem, the man at the top of decision making tree will know the second a plane breaks into air defence area and then its just a matter of yes/no getting down to SAM operators - and they will already be ready waiting for the go code, just a matter of pulling the trigger. and thats the worst case scenario where there is zero warning time

  • by cupantae (1304123) < minus city> on Monday April 30, 2012 @03:29AM (#39842617)

    How is this insightful? Whether or not the UK is a nanny state, it has nothing to do with this. What, are they nannying their citizens with missiles?

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday April 30, 2012 @04:09AM (#39842733)

    paranoid nanny state

    With reason. There are a lot of Muslims in Britain, 24% of whom think that the 7/7 London underground bombings were justified []. With 2.8 million Muslims, that's 700,000 people who would think that attacks on the civillian infrastructure are justified. Even if only one in a thousand would be prepared to do something that is a real threat.

    The issue isn't whether its paranoia, there is a real danger. The issue is does this add to the danger or contribute to safety.

  • by fremsley471 (792813) on Monday April 30, 2012 @04:48AM (#39842867)

    I was watching Patriot missiles launches live on the BBC during Gulf War 1. 1,2,3 they went off, but number 3 turned right very quickly and exploded nearby. Turns out that a "Scud got through" and killed 28 soldiers at the same base these Patriots were fired from. Funny coincidence, especially with the Israeli clamour for the Patriot at that time as a missile shield.

  • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Monday April 30, 2012 @05:03AM (#39842925)

    Not anywhere around London anyway... This is why I'm fairly safe in my assumption that by the time a missile launches, the jet will likely be in its terminal dive, or close enough to it to not really matter otherwise.

    The missiles involved sound like some sort of multiple round MANPAD on steroids that was designed to take out gunships or fast moving, low flying mud-movers. Not exactly your first choice for shooting down hijacked airliners so unless they are expecting air strikes on the Olympic stadiums or a gunship attack I think we can safely assume this measure is being taken mostly for propaganda value. Let's hope this doesn't backfire on the Britishers when the media, in a fit of collective reality detachment, launches a spectacular news analysis of what the damage will be if a jet airliner is shot down by a SAM and crashes in central London. I'm rather looking forward to the Olympics and it would be a pity if the tabloids were allowed to spoil it.

  • by benjfowler (239527) on Monday April 30, 2012 @05:14AM (#39842975)

    Only stupid right-wing Americans complain about "nanny states". It's a curiously American disease.

    Everybody else is too busy getting on with their lives and enjoying universal health care to have time to mouth off about 'teh evul gubmint'

  • by swalve (1980968) on Monday April 30, 2012 @08:15AM (#39843565)
    I'm a lefty, and I complain about the nanny state too. I'm all for universal health care and taxing everyone what it takes to pay the bills. But I just can't stand it when they make laws that restrict actual freedom for lots of people, just to appease the "what about the children" pearl-clutchers.
  • by dyingtolive (1393037) < minus pi> on Monday April 30, 2012 @08:29AM (#39843663)
    On the other hand, they're talking about putting surface to air missiles on top of residential buildings for the Olympics. Eleven years ago, this might have been on the Onion. The world IS kinda crazy right now.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"