The UK armed forces element of the 2012 Olympic Games security programmes swings into action this weekend with the start of airspace restrictions covering the skies above much of south east England.
Beginning on 14 July 2012, Royal Air Force, British Army and Royal Navy assets and personnel will start enforcing an exclusion zone around 30 miles wide over London and other areas.
Commercial air travel, which already takes place along established air corridors, won't be affected by the airspace restrictions but, for a month, other types of flight will be heavily impeded.
London Olympics Airspace Restrictions
The start of the London Olympics airspace restrictions coincides with the announcement, made yesterday, that 3,500 additional UK armed forces personnel are set to be involved in the 2012 Olympics security arrangements, after security firm G4S conceded it would be unable to allocate enough of its staff.
RAF Northolt, west of London and home to the Royal Flight, now has Sea King helicopters there on detachment. They join a detachment of RAF Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4s which arrived several days ago.
On the other side of London, snipers and RAF Puma helicopters have been positioned in a state of operational readiness while, in the capital itself, HMS Ocean is soon set to sail in, complete with a consignment of Royal Marines on board.
UK Armed Forces: Olympics Airspace
The UK armed forces involvement in the London Olympics airspace limits will serve to boost terms already put in place and being maintained by several organisations, including the MoD and the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority). Supporting literature has gone out to every private pilot in the UK and, should a privately-owned aircraft enter the restricted zone, a series of measures will be deployed, ultimately concluding in a shoot-down.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is the most up-to-date multirole combat aircraft in RAF service. Introduced in 2003, it serves with squadrons based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire and RAF Leuchars in Scotland.
This is the second time that RAF Typhoons have been flown in to RAF Northolt in recent months. Back in May, several examples rehearsed the role they'll need to play, if required, during the London Olympics period.