UK Nuclear Defences Exposed By Google Earth

Britain’s nuclear defence could face serious threats from terrorists, as detailed images of the country’s nuclear base at Faslane, based on River Clyde in Scotland, are available on Google Earth for free of charge to the web users, according to the reports from the Sun.

The images include detailed aerial-views of the top-secret Naval base, along with the information on latitude and longitude of the nuclear facility in Faslane, home for the Britain’s Trident-armed nuclear submarine forces, the newspaper reported.

Along with these, Google Earth also include images of a couple of giant Vanguard class submarine, each having capacity to carry 16 nuclear missiles; in addition, the application also shows detailed images of Trident Special Area, place where nuclear warheads are stored.

Military experts have already cautioned that these images would help terrorists to launch precise rocket or mortar attacks on the nuclear base.

Citing the gravity of the issue, an unnamed security expert told the newspaper, “A strike on our nuclear capability would cause untold devastation. Terrorists could have a field day, knowing exactly where to aim strikes to cause the maximum devastation”. Furthermore, the application also shows the images of London Offices of MI6, as well as Hereford-based SAS training facility.

Responding to the concerns, a spokeswoman from Google asserted that the company would surely listen to the requests from the UK government, but she declined to comment on any of those discussions.

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Our Comments

It is not the first time that Google's pictures have attracted criticism from military organisations. However, images by themselves are not enough to plan for an effective attack plus other online services like Terra Explorer offer equally precise pictures. Actually, virtual flight simulators are significantly more likely to be used in a suicide attack using a small plane.

Related Links

Google Earth lays bare UK's nuclear defences

(Computer Weekly)

Britain's nuclear defence HQ at terror risk after appearing on Google Earth

(The Telegraph)

'UK nuclear HQ, sensitive military sites under terror threat'

(Press Trust Of India)

Brit nuclear HQ on Google Earth

(The Sun)