2nd May 2012, 11:40 AM
London 2012 Olympics: RAF launch nine-day Exercise Olympic Guardian security ... - Telegraph.co.uk
Taking flight: Typhoon jets, which can fly at a staggering 1,370mph, will be used as part of a nine-day exercise to test Games security*Photo: PA
The Typhoons can travel up to 1,370 miles an hour, and two aircraft caused a sonic boom - reportedly heard as far afield as Bath, Coventry and Oxford - last month after responding to an emergency signal.
Residents close to RAF Northolt, across the capital and the Home Counties, have been warned that there is likely to be a signifant increase in air activity while the nine-day training, called Exercise Olympic Guardian and finishing on May 10, takes place.
During the weekend of May 5 and 6 there is expected to be an increase in noise, as airmen, sailors and soldiers will run through possible security threats ahead of the London Games.
Last year the RAF flew Typhoons to Libya, in a bid to help oust the late Colonel Gaddafi, and Wednesday marks the first time fighter aircraft have been stationed at the air base since the Second World War.
Other aircraft involved in the exercise include Royal Navy Sea King helicopters, 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.
Air Vice-Marshal Stuart Atha, air component commander for Olympics air security, said: "As we undertake this essential training, there will be a visible and audible presence of RAF Typhoon and military helicopters operating above greater London and the home counties.
"There will also be flights occurring throughout the exercise period, to allow pilots and other forces to become familiar with operating in the London and home counties air space.
"We have sought to limit the amount of flying to the minimum required to ensure that our forces are ready for their important role delivering air security for the Olympics, balancing this against the need for us to reduce disturbance to a minimum.
"But we hope that people will understand the need for this very important training, and we thank them for their continued strong support."
Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond added: "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."
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