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UK fighter jets in Olympic security exercise

Britain Olympics Defe_Pata.jpg

May 2, 2012: An RAF Typhoon fighter aircraft lands at RAF base Northolt, where four of the aircraft will be based as part of the Olympics related security exercise in west London.AP2012

Fighter jets will soar across Britain on Wednesday as military authorities begin an eight day operation to test Olympic security.

The Ministry of Defense said Typhoon fighter jets from around the country will arrive at a Royal Air Force base at Northolt in west London for the operation, code named Exercise Olympic Guardian. It is the first time fighter aircraft have been stationed at RAF Northolt since the Second World War.

Air Vice-Marshal Stuart Atha, air component commander for Olympics air security, said there will be a visible and audible presence of RAF Typhoon and military helicopters operating above London and southeast London during the operation.

He said the flights should allow pilots and other personnel to get used to flying in the greater London area.

"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," he said in a statement.

Atha said he hopes the public will understand the need for these operations.

The fighter jets will return to their bases after the exercise but will come back to Northolt for the duration of the games, July 27-Aug. 12, and then the Paralympics from Aug. 29-Sept. 9.

The Royal Air Force will also send Puma transport helicopters and Lynx helicopters carrying teams of snipers trained to intercept aircraft flying without authorization in London airspace.

Soldiers on the ground are testing missile systems that may be based on buildings and apartment blocks near the Olympic site.

Defense secretary Phillip Hammond said there is no specific threat relating to the games.