The Ministry of Defence have sent out leaflets to residents in an east London estate, announcing the possibility of placing surface-to-air missiles on a block of flats during the Olympics.
This "High Velocity Missile system" is to be set up on top of the Lexington Building water tower, situated a few hundred metres south of the main Olympic stadium in Stratford for the duration of this year's games, to "monitor the airspace" and defend the area from terrorist attack.
The system to be used will be the Starstreak High Velocity Missile system: a highly sophisticated and widely adopted technology of the Royal Artillery. The fired projectiles have a maximum range of 5,500m, can travel 3x the speed of sound, and are guided riding on a beam projected through the viewing sight.
According to the leaflet (photos submitted by our readers), a military exercise is to take place between the 2nd and 10th May to test that the "military contribution to the games is fully ready," including the fixture of dummy missiles in the launcher. From then on, during the rehearsals and the beginning of the games, there will be a strong military presence to patrol the live missile site.
The MoD picked the area because "it offers an excellent view across the local area, including the Olympic Park," and is part of a wider network of air defence sites in the greater area. The missile launcher is powered electrically, so it won't make any sounds while dormant, and the system will only by authorised for use by orders from "the highest levels of Government."
Not many have addressed the elephant in the room of this issue, simply being that of the levels of security being seen around the event. Regardless of the technological sophistication of all the defense measures in place, which quite frankly fascinates us, if the Olympics have reached a point where this magnitude of security is required, then maybe the games need to be postponed until a time it can be deemed safe?