Rapier to Defend Summer Olympics in Britain
Defending the summer Olympic games has become a real challenge as terrorist groups seek to make their statement with attacks. I suppose it all began with the 1972 Olympics in Munich, when a group of hooded men tried to attack the Israeli athletes, if I recall. It was less high tech then, but ever since 2001, the game is how to to defend and protect against such a diverse target as the Olympics. When they were in China, the Chinese used extensive monitoring techniques to protect.
Now, from May 18 through Sept. 9th, it is Britain's turn to host them. Although, the game begin July 27, Britain's security is being tighten well in advance. What makes them very nervous is that last year the terrorist threat was severe, as of now, it is substantial. It was only a few years ago terrorists struck in London's subways, killing over 50 people. Now, with such a high profile event as the Olympics, all eyes are on country. From a terrorist POV, it would be very tempting to make an attack at an event. Talk about a world stage. Yet, doing so presents huge problems and risks. But, even making an attack elsewhere in London or an other big city would do the same and would be easier to accomplish.
To defend the summer games, England may place surface to air missiles on the rooftops in East London. These would most likely be the Rapier missile system which is portable and each unit contains four missiles. These would be placed at six locations creating an air umbrella against terrorist attacks from the air. The Rapier can track and attack up to five miles away and up to 10,000 ft. A few of the locations would be on top of housing complexes in Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. Yet, local residents oppose them.
Missiles or not, the police will be in force during the games. On peak days, there will be 9500 officers in addition to local police. More distant, as a response force, 13,500 military men will be ready for counter-terrorism ops. The timing of this Olympics could be ill-fated. With a war with Iran looming on the horizon now, and the worse sanctions to hit only July 1, if there has not been an attack on Iran by then, the odds for it in July will be great. Iran could try to conduct some sort of retaliation in the London area before or during the games.
But, it will only take a single attack, whether insignificant or not, to ruin the games for a time and drive spectators away. Once any attack occurs, many will stay away from Olympic sites. It might be wise to steer clear of London.