Missile Sites Spread Across London before Olympics
April 30, 2012
By JUSTIN DAVENPORT | LONDON EVENING STANDARD | APRIL 30, 2012
London will be ringed by six missile sites to guard against a 9/11-style suicide jet attack during the Olympics.
One battery could be positioned near a playground in Waltham Forest with the others providing round-the-clock cover from Blackheath Common, the Lea Valley Reservoir, Oxleas Wood, Barn Hill in Epping Forest and on top of a block of flats in Bow.
David Cameron will have ultimate responsibility for any decision to fire the surface-to-air Starstreak and Rapier missiles.
The weapons travel at three times the speed of sound with a range of 3.4 miles. General Sir Nick Parker, in charge of Olympic operations, said: “We are practising for the worst-case scenario, not the most likely scenario but we believe that it is prudent to be prepared. It is sensible to prepare for the worst.”
Starstreaks can be fired from the shoulder or armoured vehicles while Rapiers are mounted on trailers. They will be aimed at defending the Olympic Park.
He said people were being consulted over the sites. General Parker said Typhoon fighter jets patrolling the skies would be the first line of defence followed by snipers in helicopters whose role would be to shoot the pilots of planes which failed to turn back from the stadium.
The surface-to-air missiles are being deployed as the third tier of defence aimed at slower or smaller aircraft. The Rapiers will be sited farther out and Starstreak High Velocity Missiles will be deployed in Bow and Waltham Forest just a few miles from the stadium.
The general said dummy missiles would be used during a major army and police security exercise which starts on Wednesday. The eight-day exercise codenamed Olympic Guardian will see the Navy’s largest ship HMS Ocean moored at Greenwich and Typhoon jets conducting low flying runs across London.
He revealed that Typhoon jets had been operating on exercise in London airspace as recently as last Friday. Of the missile sites, he added: “I understand that this is unusual and people may be concerned but I believe that for the greater good it is prudent to us to provide this sort of air security.”
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