Ships from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom are engaged in a live-fire integrated missile defence exercise off the Scottish coast.
Lasting a month, Exercise Formidable Shield will see a Royal Navy Type 45 Destroyer and two Type 23 Frigates join one of the most sophisticated and complex air and missile exercises ever undertaken in the UK.
The vessels will work together to detect, track and shoot down both anti-ship and ballistic missile targets. 13 ships will fire on 12 live missile targets over four days, improving how allies work together in an air and missile defence environment.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:
“North Korean tests have shown the danger of rogue states developing longer range missiles. By hosting this cutting-edge exercise in anti-missile defence with allied navies Britain is at the forefront of developing a more effective response to this growing threat.”
Rear Admiral Paul Bennett, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Capability) said the exercise was an excellent showcase for the UK’s defensive capabilities. He commented:
“Formidable Shield is a terrific example of the leading role that the UK plays in development of maritime air and missile defence – protecting our people and working with our allies.”
During the scenario, Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal fired Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) and the USS Mitscher fired Standard Missiles-2 at the incoming Mirach and Firejet anti-ship cruise missiles as part of a no-notice launch of anti-ship cruise missiles in the IAMD exercise scenario.
The Mirach and Firejet missiles were launched from the Hebrides Range located on the Western Isles of Scotland.
Rear Adm. Francesco Covella, Italian Navy, STRIKFORNATO Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations said:
“This exercise provides the opportunity to use portions of NATO BMD architecture and develop potential tactics, techniques and procedures in the NATO operations. STRIKFORNATO is, since 2016, the organization responsible for control of NATO Maritime Ballistic Missile Defense forces; Formidable Shield is the ideal opportunity to exercise those capabilities at sea, for the first time, with a NATO IAMD task group.
This exercise is a prime example of NATO strength and demonstrates the commitment of NATO allies to the security of Europe.”
Simultaneously, ships from the UK, France, Italy and Spain tracked a short-range ballistic-missile target that was also fired from the Hebrides Range during a simulated engagement, conducting all steps of a routine engagement.