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Armed Forces equipment which will support the security effort for the London 2012 Olympic Games has been deployed during the course of this week - with the operation continuing into the weekend. HMS Ocean will be back in the River Thames tonight and will be visited by MPs and Peers next week. Tomorrow (Saturday) new airspace restrictions come into force which will help safeguard the security of the Games.
The RAF Regiment and its sharpshooters are on stand-by. For more pictures of this and HMS Ocean go to the U K Defence Forum albums on Facebook. For details of Olympic airspace restrictions and assets deployed by all three Services see below.
As part of the Armed Forces' wide-ranging support to the civilian and police-led Olympics security effort, the assets on standby to enforce new air movement restrictions over London - including Typhoon fast jets - will be fully in place by the weekend when the new temporary restrictions come into force.
The deployment of this kit and associated personnel follows a military exercise - "Olympic Guardian" - in early May during which unarmed equipment was put into place for a period of nine days over which the air security plan was tested.
Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond MP, said: "Whilst there is no reported threat to the London Olympics, the public expects that we put in place a range of measures aimed at ensuring the safety and security of this once-in-a-generation event. The equipment necessary to operate our comprehensive, layered air security plan is now in place. I believe this will provide reassurance to residents of, and visitors to, London and a powerful deterrent.
"There are now 17,000 military personnel involved in the Olympic security effort, every one of whom will play a part in ensuring the Games go smoothly and are the national sporting celebration they should be. They deserve everyone's gratitude."
Typhoon fast jets and Royal Navy helicopters have arrived at RAF Northolt, Puma helicopters at Ilford, the installation of Rapier ground based air defence systems at four sites in and around London has taken place alongside the arrival of Starstreak High Velocity Missile at two sites in London.
Helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy's largest ship, will provide maritime command and control, accommodation, as well as helicopter and small boat basing. It is due to pass through the Thames Barrier at around 8pm and arrive at Greenwich, where it will moor, by around 9pm.
The mobilisation of volunteer reservists in support of the Olympics is also under way.
The UK Government has made the delivery of a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games its paramount objective. As a result the Government has indicated that airspace restrictions will be placed around all Games venues. More information about the restrictions, and the supporting material that pilots will need to be able to fly safely during that time, can be found at http://olympics.airspacesafety.com/
Platforms deplyed include :
Royal Navy assets
HMS Ocean in the River Thames
HMS Bulwark off Weymouth
43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines
539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines
1st Patrol Boat Squadron
Royal Fleet Auxiliary, some at Weymouth.
Sea King helicopters at RAF Northolt, RNAS Culdrose and elsewhere
British Army assets
Army Air Corps Lynx, including on HMS Ocean
Army Rapier Missile and Starstreak High Velocity Missile at 6 sites in London.
Royal Air Force assets
Typhoon FGR4 at RAF Northolt, cockpit ready to scramble
Air Surveillance and Control System at RAF Scampton
E-3D Sentry AEW1 from RAF Waddington
Puma HC1 at Ilford and on HMS Ocean, cockpit ready to scramble
RAF Regiment Snipers on board Puma