UK Prime Minister's aircraft on radar

Issue No. 5 | March 1-15, 2017Photo(s): By UK MoD

The Mail recently reported that the official aircraft of the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, can be tracked by a mobile phone app. The Mail quoted experts stating that the astonishing security lapse made Theresa May ‘a flying target’ as she arrived in the terror hotspot of Turkey from Washington recently. The exact location of the aircraft, dubbed ‘May Force One’ — along with its height, direction and speed — was broadcast online as it came in to land in Ankara, the site of repeated terrorist attacks.

Experts called for the transponder — the onboard device that broadcasts its location — to be switched off, as is the case with the US President’s Air Force One jet. Chris Phillips, the former head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, said: “This is perfect information for a would-be terrorist. They should have turned off the tracker on the plane. It is ridiculous and irresponsible that this information is publicly available. Planes are in the most danger when they are taking off and landing. If you know the next incoming plane has the Prime Minister onboard, you can lie in wait and fire something at it.”

The long-range Royal Air Force (RAF) Voyager aircraft was commandeered by Downing Street last year after being converted at a cost of £10 million for use by senior ministers and members of the Royal family.