Missiles to be deployed at six London sites to protect Olympics

London: The British ministry of defence (MOD) has identified six sites in the east of London for deployment of ground-to-air missile batteries to protect the Olympic and Paralympic Games scheduled for July-August.

The deployment will be part of the plans for a major exercise this week to test Olympic security called Olympic Guardian, Xinhua reports.

The exercise begins Wednesday and runs until May 10, and the MOD said in a statement that it would result in a visible presence of armed forces personnel, ships and aircraft.

The drill will include the high-profile appearance of the Royal Navy`s flagship and largest vessel HMS Ocean at Greenwich, which is the venue for the Olympic equestrian events and is only a couple of kilometers from the Olympic Park in the Stratford district of east London.

HMS Ocean is a helicopter carrier and floating command center while naval helicopters will also be used.

Naval early warning helicopters and Royal Air Force helicopters will be deployed at an army base in Ilford, several kilometers to the east of the Olympic Park and RAF Typhoon jet fighters will fly across the London skies as part of the exercise.

The MOD said the anti-aircraft missile batteries would be fitted with practice drill missiles at the six sites, ringing the Olympic Park.

The secretary of state for defence Philip Hammond said, "Support for the Olympic Games will be an important task and the exercise is about pushing our people and our systems to the limit to ensure that we are ready for the challenge.

"The majority of the exercise will be played out in full view of the public and I hope that it will have a secondary effect of reassuring that everything possible is being done to ensure a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games."