Published on Mar 1, 2012
A major Olympic security air exercise has been underway to test the response of the Armed Forces to a potential terrorist attack from the skies. Codenamed Exercise Taurus Mountain 2, it used a mock scenario where RAF Typhoons and helicopters have to be scrambled to intercept and identify a suspicious aircraft, guided by controllers and observers in the air and on the ground. The Defence Secretary observed from an RAF E-3D Sentry aircraft on a two-hour mission flying from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. He said: "Exercises like this are designed to put our highly professional Armed Forces and their state-of-the-art equipment through their paces so they are prepared to play a key role alongside the civilian authorities in making sure we can all enjoy a trouble-free and secure Games this summer. "Although there are no specific threats, the public should be reassured that air security around the Games is in safe hands. And what I have seen today, speaking to personnel both in the air and on the ground, underlines just that." Air Vice-Marshal Stuart Atha is the Air Component Commander, the senior RAF officer charged with delivering the Air Security Plan. He said: "Of course, providing air security over the UK is something the RAF does every minute of the day, every day of the year. Today's exercise, which sees us operating alongside both Army and Royal Navy colleagues and assets, allows us to develop our existing procedures to meet the particular requirements of the Olympics, and thus ensure that we play our part in delivering a safe and secure Games."
Armed Forces units taking part in the exercise have included:
- Typhoon jets from RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire.
- Puma helicopters from RAF Benson, Oxfordshire, with snipers teams from the Royal Air - Force Regiment at RAF Honington, Suffolk
- Royal Navy Lynx helicopters from RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset.
- Royal Navy Sea King SkASaC helicopters from RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall.
- Sentry E-3D aircraft from RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire.
- Air Surveillance and Control System (ground-based radar), from RAF Boulmer, Northumberland.
- 1 Air Control Centre (ground-based radar), from RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire.
- Joint Ground-Based Air Defence (missile systems), of 16 Regiment Royal Artillery, from North Luffenham, Rutland.
- Grob Tutor aircraft from RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire.