Exercise FORMIDABLE SHIELD, which took place last month in the Outer Hebrides, has been hailed a success for NATO coherence by MoD top brass.
Based at the MoD Hebrides Range, the multinational training exercise involved 4,000 service personnel from 13 nations testing the ballistic missile defence capabilities of NATO and its partner nations.
Major General Robin Anderton-Brown, Director of Capability at Strategic Command, said: “The importance of our responsibility for integration across Defence and with our allies was evident on Exercise FORMIDABLE SHIELD. The exercise was a clear demonstration of the coherence of the alliance and the importance of the need to share and fuse data and information between nations to defeat high-speed missile threats.”
Over 20 ships, 35 aircraft, including the Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 Lightning 2, and eight radar and rocket system ground units participated in the two and half week exercise.
Meanwhile, Graham Ball, Deputy Director of Integration at Strategic Command, added: “FORMIDABLE SHIELD demonstrates the value and necessity of working with our allies to drive integration - meaning that we, and our partners, can act in a way that is greater than the sum of our collective parts.
The deterrent effect of the fused and capable defensive systems, as tested on FORMIDABLE SHIELD, have applicability across the spectrum of conflict – supporting campaigning and helping to protect our shared interests.”
One example of this integration was HMS Defender linking up with an RAF Typhoon and HMS Kent via satellite to intercept an incoming missile using an air defence system that was first developed in a joint programme with France and Italy, which is now being upgraded at industrial sites across the UK.
Rear Admiral James Morley, Deputy Commander of Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) commented: “FORMIDABLE SHIELD is the premier Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) and live fire rehearsal in the European theatre, and highlights our proficiency in seamlessly integrating allied and partner maritime and air forces into combined operations.”