HMS Defender has shot down a drone off the Scottish coast.
The missile firing took place as part of NATO Exercise Formidable Shield and was designed to test the ability of the vessel to shoot down an incoming drone target designed to simulate a projectile attack on the ship.
The purpose of Formidable Shield was to improve allied interoperability in a live-fire integrated air and missile (IAMD) environment, using NATO command and control reporting structures.
Captain Jonathan Lipps, Deputy Commander for Task Force 64, US Navy 6th Fleet, said:
“The [Hebrides] range here provides a great opportunity to integrate the forces of the alliance, the members of the task force, the water space and the air space that we need to execute this fight. It’s of vital importance. There are few places in the world that we can conduct this type of operation. Here we can do it safely and capture the lessons learned that we need to build for the future.”
Defender’s Senior Warfare Officer, Lieutenant Commander Daniel Lee, said in a news release:
“Being a part of our first firing against a fast-moving, low-level target has been a really rewarding experience. Proving the effectiveness of the Sea Viper system against a more challenging target reassures us in the ability of HMS Defender to deliver on operations as an air defence destroyer.”
According to a Royal Navy release:
“Just two and a half seconds after erupting from HMS Defender’s silo, the missile accelerates to more than four times the speed of sound – otherwise known as Mach 4. High over the seas, it then manoeuvres at G-forces which no human being could withstand, to close in and destroy the target.”
The Sea Viper system tracks aircraft and other objects across thousands of cubic miles of airspace, identifies threats, and destroys them when necessary.