Just to break up the cavalcade of good news and patriotic celebration today, word is that the U.K. Ministry of Defence (or “defense,” depending on which side of the Atlantic you hang out on) is going ahead with their plans to install missile launchers at key positions throughout London during the Olympics. Hopefully, the arguments over whether or not their presence is gross intrusion or a security necessity will remain entirely academic.
The final word isn’t so surprising, as MoD has basically said that they were going ahead with the plan to install Rapier and Starstreak surface-to-air missiles around the city for weeks. However, the website for the Defence Management Journal is now reporting that the plan is already in action. In fact, they’ve even listed some of the places you’ll be able to find the missiles!
The MoD has confirmed that the Lexington Building, in Bow and Fred Wigg Tower in Waltham Forest will host the Starstreak High Velocity Missile system, while the larger Rapier missiles will be based at Blackheath Common, William Girling Reservoir, Shooters Hill and Barn Hill.
The report goes on to say that Fred Wigg Tower residents have actually filed legal action to prevent the missiles being placed near their homes. However, the MoD seems confident that it will easily pass this hurdle.
In the post 9/11 world, the concern over highjacked passenger aircraft being used as weapons is sadly justifiable. However, one of the strongest arguments against placing the missiles around London is that simply shooting the planes out of the sky may be equally catastrophic. Hitting an aircraft with a missile would stop it, of course, but it would also rain down fiery debris over the city.
Obviously, these missiles are meant as a deterrent — to be known, seen, and feared. Here’s hoping that this awkward argument and the threat these missiles represent pass with the end of the games.
- Meanwhile, NASA launches a satellite from an airplane
- Because of a slip-up, the U.S. lost control of 1/9th its nuclear arsenal
- Missiles don’t even need to be real to be threatening