The Royal Navy’s largest warship, the carrier and assault ship HMS Ocean, has returned to London to provide helicopter support and sniper teams for the duration of the Olympics. RAF Typhoon fast jets and RAF Puma helicopters with snipers armed with hi-tech rifles will be among the military aircraft patrolling the restricted zone, air security pain including:
- RAF Typhoon fast jets based at Northolt
- RAF Puma helicopters with sniper teams, based at Ilford in east London
- Army Rapier and Starstreak ground-based air defence systems at six London sites
- Royal Navy Sea King helicopters based at Northolt
- Helicopter carrier HMS Ocean on the River Thames, base for helicopter operations and personnel accommodation
The Navy’s flagship and amphibious assault vessel HMS Bulwark will be deployed to Weymouth in Dorset where the sailing events are being held, and an extra 3,500 soldiers and Royal Marines are being drafted in as last minute security guards for the event, after private company G4S admitted it couldn’t provide enough guards.
A total of 17,000 servicemen and women will now be involved in the Olympics, including 11,800 soldiers, 2,600 sailors and marines, and 2,600 airmen, the current security budget estimate of $870-million already doubled and expected to climb significantly by the time the Olympics and Paralympics are finished.
The total Olympics budget is set at $14.7-billion – nearly four times the 2005 estimate given by organizers when London won the 2012 bid.