The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed the deployment of 13,500 military personnel to help provide security during the upcoming London 2012 Olympic Games.
Defence secretary Philip Hammond said in a statement: ‘Up to 7,500 of them will support the smooth running of Olympic sites, while the remainder will use their specialist capabilities and equipment to contribute to the delivery of Olympic security.’
The military contingent will consist of Special Forces and specialist bomb disposal units, as well as a 1,000-strong contingency force for deployment in case of an Olympics-related civil emergency.
Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon, Puma and Lynx helicopters will operate alongside the Navy’s HMS Ocean and HMS Bulwark to provide logistics support, while ground-to-air missiles will be deployed to provide protection against airborne attacks.
The police will continue to lead security efforts but will be supported by some 5,000 troops, with an additional 7,500 providing security for 150 venues at peak times, Hammond added.
The MoD will increase its normal support work to the civilian authorities, tasks which include bomb disposal, building-search teams and specialist sniffer dogs.
The move is among security measures that will funded by an increase in the Games’ security budget from £282m to £553m, announced by ministers last week.
Originally the military was to have a low-key presence during the Games, providing naval support off the Weymouth area near the Olympic sailing venue. However, a severe threat level-based comprehensive security review has led to a change of plans.
"’This defence contribution is on a similar scale to that deployed at other recent Olympic Games and will contribute to ensuring a safe, secure and enjoyable 2012 Olympics," Hammond added.
Hammond insisted that military operations in Afghanistan and worldwide would not be affected by the deployment.
Image Caption: The RAF Typhoon will help provide security during the London 2012 Olympic Games.