Missiles on standby to protect Olympics

2012-07-03 16:31

London - Surface-to-air missile defence systems will be deployed at six sites in London during the Olympics as a "powerful deterrent" against attack, Britain's ministry of defence confirmed on Tuesday.

The news came despite angry protests from residents at two locations where missiles are being deployed on top of blocks of flats.

One residents' group is taking legal action to try and stop the missile deployment.

Other steps being taken to protect the Olympics include mooring a helicopter carrier in the River Thames and stationing RAF Typhoon jets and Puma helicopters on the outskirts of London.

The ministry announced plans last year to deploy high-speed missile systems to protect the Olympic Park from aerial threats, as part of a mammoth security operation for the Games.

Six sites

It placed the unarmed equipment at six sites in east London for nine days in May during a military exercise to test its air security plan.

Rapier and high velocity missile systems will be installed at those locations from mid-July and will remain there throughout the Games, the ministry said in a statement confirming the plans.

"Collectively, the systems include a range of air defence capabilities, including radar and detection equipment as well as weapons which will provide a powerful deterrent and protection against the threat of an attack from the air," the statement said.

It added that similar systems had been deployed at all recent Olympic Games.

Britain's biggest-ever peacetime security force of more than 40 000, backed by a huge intelligence operation, will also guard venues, athletes and the millions of visitors expected to throng the British capital.


Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "Whilst there is no reported threat to the London Olympics, the public expects that we put in place a range of measures aimed at ensuring the safety and security of this once-in-a-generation event.

"Ground-based air defence systems will form just one part of a comprehensive, multi-layered air security plan which, I believe, will provide both reassurance and a powerful deterrent."

Tenants living near the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, launched legal action last week over proposals to station missile systems on the roof of their block of 100 local-authority owned flats.

Lawyers for residents of the Fred Wigg Tower in Leytonstone lodged papers at the Royal Courts of Justice, seeking an injunction to stop the systems being based there, claiming the plans breached tenants' human rights.

  • clinton.badenhorst - 2012-07-03 16:47

    Make sure you shoot down Malema first... He is on his way!

      terence.pattison - 2012-07-03 17:24

      You wouldn`t need a missile to shoot down Malema - An over ripe custard pie would do just the trick!

      raymond.d.pickering - 2012-07-03 17:37

      Which sport is Malema involved in then - the shot put?

  • Malavi10 - 2012-07-03 17:12

    I am surprised why people feel safe to travell to the London Olympics when there an obvious threat!

      berthram - 2012-07-03 18:03

      I am surprised you know how to use and comment on the internet if you think there are \obvious threats\ in London. It's called security precautions. You might be surprised to find out there are \obvious threats\ in South Africa on just about every street, yet you live here...

  • gieljam.gomtor - 2012-07-03 17:49

    What a crying shame that such a measure must be put in place .This in the 21st century when most of the human beings and nations are supposed to be civilized .It's high time that those who are against any civilized form be hunted down with the such vigor that they come to their senses.

      Sharon - 2012-07-03 18:47

      there is one below us

      badballie - 2012-07-04 12:12

      What a civilized suggestion!

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-03 17:50

    All the would be terrorists have been rehabilitated and are fighting on the side of the empire in Syria!

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-03 19:26

    Wow, this coming from a country, who in 2010 was selling bullet proof vests to soccer fans visiting the SWC....!!!! Maybe we should start selling nuclear protective clothing, for the ones going to the UK for the Olympics !!!!

  • pages:
  • 1