in Defence / Security

Ground based air defence systems in place for major Olympics security exercise

Posted 4 May 2012

Air defence missile systems, which could play a key role in a comprehensive and layered air security plan during the Olympics, are arriving at six sites in and around London as part of an exercise aimed at testing the military contribution to the overall security effort.

The testing with practice dummy missiles – as part of ‘Exercise Olympic Guardian’ - takes place following several months of engagement in the areas in question. This has included extensive talks with local authorities and landowners alongside briefings to local MPs, discussion with community representatives and, most recently, delivering leaflets to residents’ homes.

Crown Copyright/MOD 2012

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond MP, said:  “Whilst there is no reported threat to the London Olympics, the public expects that we have in place a range of measures aimed at ensuring the safety of this once-in-a-generation event. As part of the comprehensive security plan being tested this week, Ground Based Air Defence systems are temporarily at locations across London. We believe they will reassure the public and those attending the Games, while providing a powerful deterrent. Although a process of engagement has been underway for four months; involving community leaders, local authorities, local MPs and landowners, final decisions have yet to be taken.”


Crown Copyright/MOD 2012


At a media facility yesterday at Blackheath, both the Rapier system and the smaller High Velocity Missile (HVM) system were on show with military personnel on hand to answer technical questions in the same way as they have at meeting with residents held this week.


Crown Copyright/MOD 2012


While a formal Government decision on whether the equipment will be sited during the Games themselves is yet to be made, the proposed deployment would see the two different types of missile systems in use as part of a broad array of other capabilities.


The primary form of air defence is provided by RAF Typhoon aircraft, which will form the outer ring of defence outside London. They will be assisted by Royal Navy Lynx and RAF Puma helicopters armed with snipers with GBAD forming the final line of defence.


 Crown Copyright/MOD 2012

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