There is some unusual activity in the skies over London today – and it is thought to be due to the state visit of Donald Trump next week.
A fleet of Chinooks have been spotted flying in formation over the capital at lunchtime and will again this afternoon.
Aaron Kehoe joked: “Is a military coup happening in London right now? So many military helicopters flying overhead…”
Another user wrote: “Just seen a load of army helicopters come over Surrey, has WW3 kicked off and no one told us yet?”
But one Twitter user was a bit wiser to the operation and wrote: “Military helicopters flying west over London this lunchtime.
Have you got a picture of the aircraft? Email it to email@example.com
“Prob a rehearsal for Trump’s visit on Monday. Looked like Marine One followed by a similar chopper, then several Chinooks.”
The striking aircraft took off from Biggin Hill in south London at midday and flew to London Bridge before going to Regents Park, where they are expected to either hover for 15 minutes or potentially land.
And then at roughly 3.55pm they’ll be back at London Bridge before heading over towards Walthamstow then to Stansted Airport before going back over Regents Park at 4.30pm to 4.40pm, and “possibly” back over London Bridge about 5 minutes later as they head back to Biggin Hill.
The reason for all this activity is unknown but Regents Park happens to be the home of the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom, somewhere that will host President Trump on his UK visit next week.
The movements in the sky today could be part of a security rehearsal ahead of the visit – which is expected to be greeted with mass-protests as his last trip to the UK was.
According to the BBC, the president is expected to being a fleet of helicopters to the UK.
Among them will be Marine One, which, like Air Force One, isn’t a specific aircraft but instead refers to any US Marine Corps aircraft carrying the president.
Marine One usually refers to one of the president’s large Sikorsky VH-3D Sea Kings or the newer, smaller VH-60N White Hawks.
The helicopters are known as “white tops” because of their livery.
As a security measure, Marine One often flies in a group of identical helicopters acting as decoys.
It is also usually accompanied by two or three Osprey MV-22 escort aircraft, referred to as “green tops”.
These tilt-rotor aircraft carry support staff, special forces and secret service agents, who are tasked with dealing with any mid-flight emergency.