The Armed Forces Minister has provided further details on proposals to base an air defence missile system at Oxleas Wood in a letter to Old Bexley & Sidcup MP James Brokenshire.
In his letter Nick Harvey MP said that the MOD will support the Home Office and Department of Culture, Media and Sport by Making a significant contribution to the safety and security of the Games. Defence would provide, among other capabilities, an air security plan which will be necessary to police the restrictions to London airspace that will be in place during the Games. In support of this the Ministry of Defence will be deploying Typhoon aircraft, helicopters, radars, air observers and, potentially, a ground based air defence (GBAD) system.
Responding to local concerns about the proposals for Oxleas Wood, Mr Harvey said:
“The Oxleas site was carefully selected following extensive analysis of approximately 100 sites around London. If deployed the GBAD equipment would not be located within the Wood itself but on the open grass area of Oxleas Meadows”
“For the safety of the public, and the security of equipment, the GBAD site on Oxleas Meadows would be securely fenced off and manned by military personnel day and night. The operators of GBAD systems are highly trained and familiar with the equipment and routinely train and exercise with it”
Mr Harvey added:
“A final decision on the deployment of GBAD has not yet been taken, but given its particular detection as well as deterrent capabilities, it would be irresponsible for it not to be considered. Indeed Similar equipment has been made available at the majority of previous Olympic Games and the international community will be expecting the UK to have taken all appropriate steps to protect the Games.”