"James Bond harpoon" to stop terrorist attack from the Thames


Blackleaf
#1
The new device will be installed on a pontoon at Wapping, London, 4 miles downstream from the Houses of Parliament and, just in case a gun misses its target, others will be installed on the many bridges that line the Thames.
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'James Bond harpoon' to stop terrorist attack from the Thames


By Ben Leapman, Home Affairs Correspondent, Sunday Telegraph

14/01/2007


Security chiefs are developing a harpoon-like gun to defend Parliament against a terrorist attack from the River Thames.



The James Bond-style device



The James Bond-style device is a snare gun, which could be used to halt a boat making its way towards Westminster, laden with explosives.

The move comes after a report by MI5 and Scotland Yard, commissioned by Michael Martin, the Speaker of the House of Commons, identified the river as a weak spot in the defences of the Palace of Westminster.

Police, the Royal Navy and scientists from the Home Office have been testing and refining the "running gear entanglement system" in trials on the Solent.

It consists of a metal hook which is fired from a special gun, by compressed air propulsion, across the path of a fast-moving boat.

As the hook flies through the air, it trails behind it a line of high-tensile rope with loops hanging from it. The rope snags on the boat's propeller, stalling the engine and bringing the vessel to a halt.

If the trials prove a success, the Metropolitan Police force plans to install the first device on a pontoon at Wapping, four miles downstream from Westminster.

Any terrorist boat that evaded the snare at Wapping could come under attack from further fixed firing-points on bridges across the Thames, and from mobile units on Land Rovers parked on the river bank.

The blueprint for the entanglement system came from the United States Coastguard, which claims the device has the potential to be "highly effective against small, high-speed vessels".

However, American law enforcement chiefs are awaiting the results of the British trials before deciding whether to invest in the system. The project has been handed over to the Home Office scientific development branch, based in St Albans, Hertfordshire.


The device will protect the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the British government.


Alan Brooke, who heads the scientific side of the project, said: "Every time we test it, we learn something which helps improve the design. The timing is crucial. Too far in front, and the boat can just evade it. Too close, and the effectiveness will be reduced."

Pc Greg Watson, of the Metropolitan Police Marine Support Unit, one of the officers involved in the tests, said: "The Government has designated a security zone on the Thames. Fortunately, no one has breached it so far, but if a craft refused to comply with a request to halt, we have no non-lethal way of making it do so. That's why this project is so important."

Experts believe the technology could eventually be adopted by wealthy yacht owners to defend themselves from attacks by pirates in high-risk seas like the Straits of Malacca or off the Horn of Africa.

Andrew Sheves, the president of the US risk and security consultants Drum Cussac, called the weapon "James Bond-esque" and said that it could provide "the only realistic option for inhibiting a vessel's progress" short of shooting those on board.

So far the accuracy of the harpoon snare gun when fired from another moving boat is significantly worse than when it is fired from land or from a fixed pontoon.

Security around Parliament has been tightened since the World Trade Centre attack in 2001, with concrete blocks on the pavement to stop suicide truck-bombers, airport-style X-ray scans for members of the public entering the building, and a reinforced glass screen across the front of the Commons public gallery.

However, the protection of politicians is made harder by the location of the Palace of Westminster on the bank of the Thames. Its private river terrace is a popular drinking spot for MPs and peers.

The joint MI5/Scotland Yard security assessment, handed to the Commons authorities in 2004, warned of the danger that terrorists could ram a boat bomb into the side of the building, causing massive damage. The report recommended the construction of a boom barrage part-way across the river, to deter an attack.

Police have identified 97 "key site vulnerabilities" on the river in central London. CCTV coverage has been extended, with four-fifths of the river now monitored by cameras.

After the London Tube bombings in July 2005, the Met's Marine Support Unit, based at Wapping, stepped up high-visibility patrols on the Thames.





telegraph.co.uk
 
L Gilbert
No Party Affiliation
#2
And if they attack in jet boats rather than prop boats? roflmao Even seasleds use jets and not props.
 

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