The missiles will be armed, but the guards won’t…

Letter from local Lib Dem councillors:
Emphasis mine:

Dear Resident

Surface-to-air missiles on Blackheath

Many residents will be concerned to hear that a Rapier surface-to-air missile system might be deployed on Blackheath during the Olympics. Following on from a briefing by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Metropolitan Police at last night’s Blackheath Assembly meeting, we can confirm that Blackheath is being considered as one of six potential missile bases.

Blackheath has been selected because of its height and vantage point over London and the Thames corridor. The actual site has been located as the area immediately outside Holly Hedge House (the TA centre). The defence system consists of a missile launcher, radar sensor and tracker and will be guarded by unarmed military police. An enclosure will be erected around the equipment, the size of which is currently being determined.

At present, information is being gathered by the MoD and fed to the Secretary of State for Defence, who will make the ultimate decision about what is sited where, by early summer. We have got a guarantee that there will be further consultation with residents before a decision on final deployment.

We have ascertained that the footprint used will be as small as possible and there will be no restrictions on using the heath or any road closures associated with this.

We felt that the liaison officers from the MoD and the Police were as open as possible within the constraints of national security and we will be pressing them to continue this process of consultation right through to the event.
If you have any specific concerns you wish us to raise with them please let us know.

Is it advisable to tell the public that the military police guarding the missiles will be unarmed?
My parody limit has been reached… I honestly can’t tell any more.

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “The missiles will be armed, but the guards won’t…

  1. Matthew Gough

    Gosh, so there are going to be live warheads, with a 5 mile radius that covers most of the olympic venues and canary warf, protected only by ‘an enclosure’ and men with sticks?

    The terrorists won’t need to bother with ‘planes, they can just wonder over the heath after getting a bacon buttie from the tea hut, take out the un-armed guards, and fire the missiles wherever they please….

    If I believed in heaven I’d be saying ‘heaven help us’, but I don’t, so I’m not sure what to say either!

  2. Indigo

    Isn’t “unarmed military” police a contradiction in terms?

    Looking at the range of the Rapier missile, am wondering if the Blackheath missiles are intended to intercept anything that got past the Oxleas Wood missiles and bring it down – one hopes – on the grass. Jolly bad luck if they bring it down just short of the grass. Specification here:

    http://www.armedforces.co.uk/army/listings/l0120.html

    Still want to know why the air-borne threat is only from the south-east, apparently.

  3. This the weapon we need.

    As demonstrated in the ‘stan…..

  4. Indigo

    Hmm, reading about this on the “army rumour mill” forum where it is said that the Americans were threatening to stay away from the Olympics unless the UK beefed up the military security, and result is missile batteries suddenly appear in south-east London with little thought to the results of an actual engagement. And apparently the Rapier has an “anti-surface” mode now.

    The US military spending is at a level that the UK could never match. We can probably never do enough to make Americans happy so perhaps they are trying to force the UK into a position where the UK says the Americans can actually take over the security (as well as all the burgers and fries and sweet fizzy drinks).

    • scared of chives

      Fear not, dear American friends. I will personally be licking the pavements clean clean awaiting your arrival, putting my dog in a kennel (as the park’s closed) and changing my travel plans. Fear not too, that the transport – normally a piss-poor jumble of cancellations, short trains and traffic jams – will run as smoothly as Lord Coe’s vomit-inducing pronouncements that the entire population of the UK have been wetting their beds with excitement at the thought of the Olympics arriving – despite not knowing anyone who has a ticket.

  5. Indigo

    Reading further, seems that the earliest discussions about military security for the London Olympics included the insane suggestion of putting High Velocity Missile batteries on the top of tower blocks (to counter threats from high performance low-flying aircraft) … They can’t site these things anywhere because of their electronics (to identify the target) which could mess up the radar system at London City Airport. And, I guess, vice versa.

    Phew, so this is to dissuade the Americans from boycotting the Games? And not to protect us from a real threat – who is paying for this?

    • Jamie Roberts

      HVM does not use electronics to identify the target. The operator does it visually. It’s actually a pretty good system for small low targets as it was designed for attack helicopters. Fear not, your TV signal will not be denegrated! As for cost…well we have this equipment and the soldiers to operate them on our books anyway so I guess it is cheaper than employing G4S.

      • Anonymous

        It’s not cheaper as you have to feed and find accommodation and move the soldiers to Blackheath .

  6. Indigo

    Seems G4S won the security contract for the Olympics and then said they didn’t have enough staff to service the contract. Which is why reservists are being called up, not for a genuine national emergency requiring real military service but because G4S has the Government over a barrel. This is not in the spirit of the Reserve Forces Act 1996. But – hey – ODA/LOCOG has broken so many other laws, why not this one. Elsewhere I have read that the security staff at the Olympic Park are foreigners; perhaps because the G4S pay and conditions are (reported by someone who attending the briefing) so bad: £8 per hour and no accommodation. Given the cost of accommodation in London, there must be G4S security staff living in dormitories.

    • Jamie Roberts

      Well Anonymous,

      I guess the fuel to get the soldiers to Blackheath and the food to feed them are pretty small beer in comparison to some of the other 2012 costs. Since they are soldiers I guess they would be acommodated at the TA centre or in tents, of which I presume the Army has a few of! Now if they were police I expect your argument might have some validity…overtime, arduous living conditions expenses etc etc.

  7. michelleobrien11

    Titled “Missile Defence on the Heath”, the Blackheath Society has a picture exclusive of the Army getting dug in up there on the front line.

    Let’s hope the BS hasn’t breached the Official Secrets Act with this one.

    http://www.blackheath.org/

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