Military test for Olympics security
RAF Typhoon jets have arrived at an air base in London in preparation for the Olympic Games as military chiefs said they were ready to react to a “9/11-type attack”.
The four high-speed jets landed at RAF Northolt in west London ahead of a major military exercise to test security for London 2012. It is the first time fighter aircraft have been stationed at the base since the Second World War.
The Typhoons will take part in Exercise Olympic Guardian, a nine-day training operation over the skies of the capital and the home counties that runs from until May 10.
Air Vice-Marshal Stuart Atha, air component commander for Olympics air security, said: “What we will have is a plan that has many levels to it which will allow us to deal at one end – which is that 9/11-type attack – perhaps down to the lower and the slower type of threat that we may face.
“There is no specific threat and all we are doing is having in place what we would describe as prudent and appropriate measures in place, in order that we could react if required in a timely and appropriate fashion.”
Air Vice-Marshal Atha said he hoped the exercise would have “an effect on the mind” of any potential attackers, and added: “I would hope when they see how we are preparing they might be deterred from making any threats to the Games.”
The RAF warned that people in south-east England will notice an increase in air activity at certain times, in particular this weekend.
Other aircraft involved in the exercise include Royal Navy Sea King helicopters temporarily based at RAF Northolt, RAF Puma helicopters based at a Territorial Army centre in Ilford, east London, and Army and Royal Navy Lynx helicopters on HMS Ocean in the Thames.
Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond said: “Whilst there is no specific threat to the Games, we have to be ready to assist in delivering a safe and secure Olympics for all to enjoy.
“The fact that our state-of-the-art Typhoons will be stationed at RAF Northolt underlines the commitment of the Ministry of Defence and our armed forces to keeping the public safe at a time when the world will be watching us.”