Military in final big test for Olympics

Military in final big test for Olympics

London launched a major military exercise Wednesday to check security responses for the 2012 Olympics, as the final wave of test sports events got under way.

Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon fighter jets flew into the capital to herald the start of Exercise Olympic Guardian, a nine-day training operation to test the response to a possible attack from the air during the Games.

Military helicopters were to be stationed around the capital, including some on the amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean in the River Thames, and others carrying sniper teams.

The Typhoons will be operating at RAF Northolt in west London — the first time fighter aircraft have been stationed at the military airbase since World War II.

AWACS surveillance planes and air-to-air refuelling aircraft will also be airborne.

Britain’s regular air defence includes round-the-clock radar with Typhoons on high alert.

Meanwhile, the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, was getting its biggest test of readiness for the Games as the final wave of test events got under way.

From Wednesday until Tuesday, five venues will stage events in three Olympic and three Paralympic sports.

Assisted by 11,000 staff, more than 140,000 spectators will watch 3,000 athletes take part in hockey, wheelchair tennis, water polo, athletics, boccia and Paralympic athletics.

The international invitational hockey tournament leads the way, starting Wednesday.

World number one Australia, Olympic champions Germany, Britain and India are competing in the men’s event, while World Cup holders Argentina, China, Britain and South Korea are playing in the women’s tournament.

The British university athletics championships will take place in the main Olympic Stadium from Friday to Monday, and on Saturday the sport will be mixed with a concert when 40,000 spectators get their first taste of the venue.