By Eddie Wrenn
UFO expert Nick Pope says massive summer events like the Olympics would be a prime time for an alien encounter
Ministry of Defence 'has planned for the worst outcomes - attack and invasion'
'We should be prepared for even the most seemingly unfathomable'
One of the UK's top UFO experts has given his views on the likelihood of aliens suddenly appearing in our skies - and how the international community would respond.
Nick Pope, who has more than two decades under his belt at the Ministry of Defence, said mass summer events - like the Olympic Games in London - would be a prime time for crafts from otherworlds to present themselves to mankind.
He warned: 'With the summer of mass events we are all on high alert for terrorism. But we must also cast our eyes further afield and be prepared for even the most seemingly unfathomable.''
Pope's duties at the MoD included investigating reports of UFOs between 1991 and 1994, and says he began his research as a sceptic, before becoming convinced that the sightings raised important defence for national security and air safety issues.
Eyes to the skies: Nick Pope in front of the Jodrell Bank Observatory - home for several years to Britain's part of the SETI Project - Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
He was particularly interested in cases where the witnesses were pilots, or where UFOs were tracked on radar, and said there were other believers among his former colleagues.
He said: 'It has been a widely held belief in Ministry of Defence circles that "aliens" have been able to detect us for decades via TV and radio broadcasts.
'What once seemed like science fiction is steadily being realised by central governing bodies as distinctly real.
'If aliens have studied our psychology, they may choose to appear in our skies on a significant date – the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games is one date being widely circulated by conspiracy groups.
'The atomic bombs detonated in the 1940s, and the rocket technology since developed would unquestionably have alerted nearby alien civilisations to our existence.
'On their arrival it is difficult to say what they would do: explore, help or destroy. Our resources make us quite a special threat.'
A Tornado F3 flies past a Rapier missile set-up: These kind of defences could be used against an extra-terrestrial threat - although sure the Others would have better technology than us
A Eurofighter Typhoon F2 takes off at the Farnborough Airshow - another potential fighter in the war for intergalactic survival
Hopefully, if aliens do come and introduce themselves to us, they come in a spirit of warmth, friendship and shared learning - but Pope said the government was also prepared for the worst scenarios.
He said: 'The government must - and has planned - for the worst-case scenario: alien attack and alien invasion.
'Space shuttles, lasers and directed-energy weapons are all committed via the Alien Invasion War Plan to defence against any alien ships in orbit.
'If UFOs came into our atmosphere, RAF jets such as the Eurofighter Typhoons, and missiles such as the Rapiers guarding the Olympic Games would be well equipped to enter the fray.
'And if the aliens landed, in an unprecedented move, I am in doubt that the entire Army would be join the fight.
'The TA and the Reserves would be called out and conscription potentially introduced. '
Hopefully we may never have to report on anything like this... A UFO takes on Los Angeles in this mock-up
Speaking about the cultural impact of aliens since the first widely-reported cases in the 1940s, he said: 'It is interesting to note that we are all in some ways equipped to deal with alien invasion - games such as Resistance: Burning Skies on PlayStation Vita help acclimatise people to the reality of extraterrestrial life - and in particular that they might be hostile.
'It is a widely held belief that classified information about weapons and tactics useful in combatting alien occupation are embedded into such gameplay.
'The primary flaw is our lack of knowledge - we are limited in the extent of what we know about the alien species.'
Pope's role in the government was once described as 'working on the the X-Files of the UK', and he has since published Sunday Times top ten non-fiction bestsellers, such as Open Skies, Closed Minds.
His final role at the MoD, held until 2006, was Directorate of Defence Security, and since leaving he has given lectures and TV interviews about his views on the existence of UFOs.
Resistance: Burning Skies is an example of an alien invasion - with the invaders taking on New York in this scene
He added: 'Aliens may possess weapons or advanced technology we’ve no idea of. Aliens may have invisibility, a death ray, teleportation, force fields and other things we can't even guess at.
'Beyond this, unity is key, but as history dictates, this is not so easy.
'The logical course is to unite the world against the alien threat, combining our military strength and fighting under the United Nations. But some countries might not fight.
'We saw this type of treachery and cowardice in the Second World War. Though some brave people joined the Resistance, much of France accepted Nazi occupation.
'The final and perhaps biggest flaw is preparation. With the summer of mass events we are all on high alert for terrorism. But we must also cast our eyes further afield and be prepared for even the most seemingly unfathomable.'