A ring of steel has been thrown around Cornwall for the G7 summit, with the Royal Navy watching for threats from the air, including drones, as 11,000 police officers and 150 sniffer dogs attempt to protect world leaders.
With the three-day G7 Leaders’ Summit in Carbis Bay starting on Friday, Devon and Cornwall Police have called in wide-ranging support from the MoD.
Naval vessels, aircraft, sniffer dogs, logistics support facilities and bomb disposal teams will all be on standby for the event.
The Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose and RAF St Mawgan will host assets thought to include US President Biden’s personal helicopter known by the callsign Marine One.
Air defence capabilities to protect against airborne threats including drones will be provided by the Royal Artillery’s Giraffe radar working with a Royal Navy Type-23 frigate, HMS Northumberland, and HMS Tyne, an Offshore Patrol Vessel positioned off the coast.
Scanning the skies for airborne threats
A Giraffe radar, used by the Royal Artillery to scan the skies for airborne threats.
One Giraffe radar has been set up in the National Trust car park on Godrevy, near St Ives.
Capable of providing a full 360° picture of the air situation every second out to 120 km, the radar can simultaneously detect and track aircraft, missiles, rockets and drones.
Other military personnel will perform ceremonial duties to mark the summit.
Delegates will be welcomed by a Guard of Honour featuring 40 representatives from units in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, the Coldstream Guards and the RAF’s Queen’s Colour Squadron.
President Biden, on his first overseas visit since entering the White House, has said the goal at the G7 summit was to show China and Russia the alliance is strong.
Speaking to reporters before boarding the plane to the UK, the president said the aim was "strengthening the alliance, making it clear to Putin and China that Europe and the United States are tight".
He also said he would be announcing a vaccine strategy for the world.
HMS Prince of Wales marks the occasion
Boris Johnson and Joe Biden will agree a new Atlantic Charter to underpin shared commitments on issues including climate change and security when they meet on Thursday.
The first F-35B Lightning jet has landed on HMS Prince of Wales, which will be seen off the Cornish coast during the G7 summit this weekend.
Credit: LPhot Finn Hutchins/Royal Navy
The original Atlantic Charter, a joint declaration in 1941 by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, followed meetings on board the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales and US heavy cruiser USS Augusta. It set out a vision for the postwar world.
The modern namesake of HMS Prince of Wales, one of the Royal Navy’s two aircraft carriers, will sail along the coast of Cornwall to mark the occasion.
However, the summit preparations, with road closures and other restrictions, have left some locals unimpressed.
"It shouldn’t have been done now because of Covid and they should have just held it on Zoom and done it that way,” said Susan Mountain, selling wetsuits at a shop on the beach front
"At this time of year it’s going to be a great disruption to locals and holidaymakers," she told Sky News.
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden take off in Marine One departing from The Ellipse, past the Washington Monument, in Washington, DC, as they start their journey to Cornwall for the G7 summit. June 9, 2021.
Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP
Thousands of police gather in Cornwall
Around 11,000 police officers will be on duty, although concerns have been raised over thousands of unvaccinated officers gathering and potentially spreading the Covid-19 variant first identified in India.
Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, John Apter, told the Home Secretary on Wednesday that officers felt "betrayed" over the Government decision not to prioritise officers for Covid-19 vaccines.
Speaking at the federation’s annual conference, he said that thousands of potentially unvaccinated officers would gather in Cornwall while on duty at the summit.
Mr Apter told delegates: "Just this week, we have thousands of colleagues from all over the country coming together to police the G7 summit in Cornwall. Police officers from those communities where the Indian variant of the virus is thriving.
"We have young police officers who, by age alone, will not have been vaccinated. How can that be right?"