The Government has today confirmed that ground-based air defence systems will be deployed at six sites in and around London for the duration of the 2012 Olympic Games.
As part of the Ministry of Defence's wide-ranging support to the police-led Olympics security effort, the systems – including Rapier and Starstreak high velocity missile systems - will be in place by mid-July, along with other Defence equipment including Royal Navy helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, moored in the River Thames, Royal Air Force Typhoon jets, temporarily stationed at RAF Northolt, and Puma helicopters at a Territorial Army centre in Ilford.
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 [GBAD] 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.”
Home Secretary Theresa May said: "Our focus is to deliver an Olympic and Paralympic Games that London, the UK and the world can enjoy. The Games should be a peaceful celebration of sporting achievement and cultural celebration.
"But this is the biggest sporting event in the world, and with that comes the huge responsibility to deliver it safely and securely. We are working to a robust safety and security strategy and we will leave nothing to chance.
"The police and emergency services have substantial experience of major events and will bring this to bear with support from the military. Our approach is intelligence-led and risk-based, and flexible to respond to changes between now and the Games."
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.
Similar systems have been deployed at all recent Olympic Games.
The sites, and the specific systems to be deployed at them, are:
• Lexington Building, Fairfield Road, Bow, Tower Hamlets - High Velocity Missile
• Fred Wigg Tower, Montague Road Estate, Waltham Forest - High Velocity Missile
• Blackheath Common, Blackheath (Lewisham/Greenwich) - Rapier
• William Girling Reservoir, Lea Valley Reservoir Chain, Enfield - Rapier
• Oxleas Meadow, Shooters Hill, Greenwich/Woolwich - Rapier
• Barn Hill, Netherhouse Farm, Epping Forest - Rapier