london olympics security
Rapier surface-to-air missiles could be deployed at six sites across London -- including atop two apartment buildings -- for added security at the Summer Olympics.
Nothing says "I'm very serious" quite like surface-to-air missiles. And that's just what Britain's Ministry of Defense wants anyone intent on disrupting the coming London Olympic Games to know -- they are really, really serious. And all indications are the missiles aren't nearly enough to get the point across.
Here's a look at just some of the reported high-security measures scheduled or already in place for the Games, set to begin with the opening ceremony on July 27:
* The largest aircraft/helicopter carrier in the British naval fleet, the H.M.S. Ocean, and her 13,000 soldiers, will berth in the Thames River and serve as a "base of operations," according to a CBS news report.
* The London Telegraph reports that military chiefs hope to "allay people's fears" with surface-to-air missiles which could be deployed at six sites across London -- including atop two apartment buildings -- during the Olympics. It is the first time missile systems have been deployed in the city since Hitler attacked Britain in World War II.
* A sonic weapon used to ward off pirate attacks and drive back rioting crowds will be part of the security arsenal, Sky News recently reported. The American-built long-range acoustic device (LRad) can emit a highly focused beam of sound at a pain-inducing 150 decibels (dB), louder than the takeoff of military jets and just below the instant perforation of an eardrum.
* The Royal Navy will use Albion-class amphibious assault warships to provide security for the sailing and rowing events, the London Telegraph reports.
* G4S will provide at least 12,500 guards for the Olympics and train another 6,000 students and volunteers. In total, there will be more than 60,000 police, guards and other military personnel. The 13,500 ground troops is 4,000 more than the amount of British soldiers currently stationed in Afghanistan, the London Telegraph reports.
* The Daily Mail reports that the British Government has performed background checks on more than half a million people. MI5 has inspected about 10,000 security guards as well as the 10,5000 competing athletes, coaches and other officials. The 70,000 volunteers recruited by the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog) have also been screened, the report says. About 100 applications for accreditation have been turned down so far.
* Each of the 8,000 torchbearers on the 70-day, 8,000-mile Olympic torch relay will be accompanied by at least three security officials, the Daily Mail reports.
* All traffic in British airspace will be very carefully monitored for suspicious movements, and a five-mile no-fly zone will be in place around the Olympic soccer stadium with multiple Typhoon fighter jets on standby ready to intercept any planes breaching it, the Mirror reports.
* Herald Scotland reports the RAF is planning to use Reaper robot drones for surveillance and intelligence-gathering. The drones, remotely controlled by pilots, are fitted with a range of infrared sensors, ground-scanning radars, electronic eavesdropping equipment and high-definition cameras.
* An 11-mile, 5000-volt electric fence will partition the Olympic zone from the wider city, the Guardian reports.
* More than 10,000 athletes have submitted biometric face and fingerprint scans to the UK Border Agency to speed the identification of the arriving athletes and coaches, The Independent reports.
* Even before the Olympic security ramp-up, there are reportedly more CCTV cameras per person in the UK than any country in the world.