London 2012: Missiles may be placed at residential flats

Water Tower The water tower also contains residential flats

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The Ministry of Defence is considering placing surface-to-air missiles on residential flats during the Olympics.

An east London estate, where 700 people live, has received leaflets saying a "Higher Velocity Missile system" could be placed on a water tower.

A spokesman said the MoD had not yet decided whether to deploy ground based air defence systems during the event.

But estate resident Brian Whelan said firing the missiles "would shower debris across the east end of London".

The journalist said: "At first I thought it was a hoax. I can't see what purpose high-velocity missiles could serve over a crowded area like Tower Hamlets.

"They say they'll only use them as a last resort, but... you'd shower debris across the east end of London by firing these missiles."

Mr Whelan, who claims to have seen soldiers carrying a crate into the building, said his property management company put up posters and gave out the leaflets on Saturday.

He continued: "They are going to have a test run next week, putting high velocity missiles on the roof just above our apartment and on the back of it they're stationing police and military in the tower of the building for two months.

"It [the leaflet] says there will be 10 officers plus police present 24/7."

Resident Brian Whelan: "It creates a lot of fear. It's a massive inconvenience"

Rushana Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, said: "It looks like it's been imposed without proper consultation.

"I will be asking the government to explain why. The MoD does need to look at this again."

The leaflet states that members of the Armed Forces will be at the location for a military exercise between 2 and 7 May.

It goes on to say there will be a "major national exercise" from 2 to 10 May to test the Armed Forces' capabilities for providing security during the Olympics.

The document added that if the government decides to use the missiles during the Games, the soldiers could be "operationally deployed for a period of up to two months this summer".

The weapon being considered is a High Velocity Missile (HVM) system, which would be based on the Lexington Building Water Tower. The tower contains residential flats.

'Excellent view'

The MoD says in the leaflet that the missiles will not pose a hazard to residents and "will only be authorised for active use following specific orders from the highest levels of government in response to a confirmed and extreme security threat".

The document states: "Having a 24/7 Armed Forces and police presence will improve your local security and will not make you a target for terrorists.

Extract from MoD leaflet This part of the leaflet assures residents that their residence will not become a terrorist target

"The location has been chosen as it is situated close to the Olympic Park and offers an excellent view of the surrounding area and the entire sky above the Olympic Park.

"The top of the tower also offers a flat, uncluttered and safe area from which to operate."

The Army website says the HVM system is "designed to counter threats from very high performance, low-flying aircraft".

It says the missile travels at more than three times the speed of sound, using "a system of three dart-like projectiles to allow multiple hits on the target".

The missiles can be fired from the shoulder, from a lightweight multiple launcher or from armoured vehicles.

London 2012 - One extraordinary year

London 2012 One extraordinary year graphic

A MoD spokesman said: "As announced before Christmas, ground based air defence systems could be deployed as part of a multi-layered air security plan for the Olympics, including fast jets and helicopters, which will protect the skies over London during the Games.

"Based on military advice we have identified a number of sites and, alongside colleagues from the Metropolitan Police, are talking to local authorities and relevant landowners to help minimise the impact of any temporary deployments.

"As part of our ongoing planning, we can confirm site evaluations have taken place."

The MoD has previously said it was considering plans to install surface-to-air missiles in south-east London at Blackheath and Shooters Hill during the Olympics.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 456.

    Well Lord Coe is it time to pull the plug on this farce and cancel the Olympics.
    Which is more important a bit of egg and spoon racing or
    the "Right to respect for private and family life."
    Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights

  • rate this

    Comment number 455.

    MR MAX

    Why has britain got a national debt

    Why has the USA got a national debt.

    Why have these countries got a national debt if they print their own money ?

    Guess what, they borrow it form private businesses called the bank of england and the federal reserve.

    It is mathematically impossible to pay off the national debt FACT.

    Watch money as debt and money masters on utube to see the lie

  • rate this

    Comment number 454.

    Who would want to go near the olympics now? Knowing that missiles could be fired - and at what exactly?, what is the threat? If these missiles are fired, then the damage would be terrifying, in a city that is so densely populated. This has got be a joke right?

  • rate this

    Comment number 453.

    Chances are, if their is a terrorist attack, it will be made by half a dozen or so Men with rucksacks born in a Northern Town of the UK...................Cheap and easy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 452.

    If the missile isn't used during the Olympics, then maybe they could use it to blow up the stadium after the games, as there wont be any use for it then. This could save a lot of time and effort.

  • rate this

    Comment number 451.

    Personally, I'd rather take the chance of missile debris from my side than a direct missile (or plane) hit from the other side. The world is what it is, and it is foolish not to think that the Olympics doesn't present a tempting target to terrorist groups who want to make their mark on the world.

    I'm sure Londoners during the Blitz wouldn't have protested; where's that mindset now?

  • rate this

    Comment number 450.

    During WWII the Royal artillery parked an Oerlikon outside Grandads house.
    That night it started firing 60 round drums at the Luftwaffe. Spent shell cases went over the hedge and broke several Greenhouse Windows.
    Next morning the gun crew helped fix the damage and moved the gun.
    Dad would collect spent shell casing from the garden, in exchange the gunners gave him sweets or cigarettes.

  • Comment number 449.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 448.

    442.LUFC_FR - "No, You're wrong, the video is there for all to see"

    CORRECTION - there is a video with it's content & time frame mucked about with posted for anyone to see & the guilable to believe......

  • Comment number 447.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 446.

    15 Minutes ago

    No they hadn't, you've just been spending FAR too much time on the internet & are gullible enough to believe the conspiracy theorists' balaoney.......

    If it's on YouTube, it must be true even if you can't make Aluminium paint and Red Oxide paint act as thermite.

  • rate this

    Comment number 445.

    It is totally within the governments right to be considering doing this. It is better to be safe than sorry. It is a price worth paying. The security of all who are travelling to this country should be paramount.

  • rate this

    Comment number 444.

    Serfdom awaits the uninformed.

    The debts you are carrying will turn into lifetime debts overnight.

    People are living in sheds but the councils wont build new houses, why not, its probably because the government are drawing up proposals to kick out unemployed under 25s from council properties.


    Good luck to those who believe in their government.

  • rate this

    Comment number 443.

    Seems they think there's a chance of a choice between terroists taking out the Olympics or taking out part of the East End. If so maybe it should be the Olympics. At least people attending the games have a choice whether to risk a terroist attack. People sitting at home in their flats don't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 442.


    No, You're wrong, the video is there for all to see.

  • rate this

    Comment number 441.

    Hmm... as fodder for my next spy adventure this has some potential... [wanders off scribbling in notebook]

    ... you couldn't make this up!

  • rate this

    Comment number 440.

    This is a good move. If something happens and the government does nothing, heads will roll. At least it is better to know you are safe at all costs than none at all

  • rate this

    Comment number 439.

    We've got this all wrong. Replace the Javelins with missiles, the sailing marks can be replaced with frigates to sail around, stick an aircraft carrier (do you remember those?) in the swimming pool and swimmers can race around that, the opening ceremony can be a North Korean goose step parade- and we're all set! Oh thank god Lord Coe spent billions on this- all worth it in the end.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 438.

    Hahaha. Do it!

    Let's put missiles on people's homes! What a nice idea!

  • rate this

    Comment number 437.

    3. Eddy from Waring
    If someone tries to crash a hijacked plane into the stadium, they'll shoot it down so it falls into a Poor People's residential area instead..."

    No. Drop the class-warfare rhetoric. It clouds your judgement.

    A shot down airliner will kill a couple hundred at most.

    An airliner crashing into stadiums will kill thousands, possibly tens of thousands.

    It's the lesser evil.


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