Home Europe Allies make missiles rain during NATO drill Formidable Shield 23

Allies make missiles rain during NATO drill Formidable Shield 23

Photo: US Naval Forces

NATO allied ships taking part in the Formidable Shield 2023 exercise off Scotland’s western coast had the opportunity to test a range of different integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) scenarios from May 17 to 20, 2023.

Allied aircraft tracked and cued multiple numerous subsonic, supersonic, and ballistic missile targets from the UK Ministry of Defence’s Hebrides Range in Scotland, while surface ships representing France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United States effectively neutralized these threats by launching a total of 11 missiles, including Aster-30, Standard Missile-2 (SM-2), and Evolved Seasparrow Missiles (ESSM).

Last week, the Royal Netherlands Navy’s HNLMS Tromp, serving as the Force Anti-Air Warfare Commander (FAAWC), showcased its capabilities by launching an SM-2 and intercepting a subsonic cruise missile during the live-fire engagement.

HNLMS Tromp launching an SM-2

Additionally, Tromp collaborated with Norwegian counterparts to coordinate live-fire engagements against subsonic targets while simultaneously tracking a precision-guided ballistic missile.

On May 19, the crew of the Italian Navy’s ITS Carlo Margottini also demonstrated their prowess by engaging and neutralizing a supersonic GQM-163A target using an Aster-30 missile.

The engagement was followed by Dutch, French, and Spanish surface units, including Tromp, French FREMM Bretagne, and exercise flagship Blas De Lezo, all taking their turns at intercepting another supersonic GQM-163A launched from the Hebrides. With engagements utilizing ESSM, SM-2, and Aster-30 missiles, the day concluded with notable achievements for the allied forces involved in the exercise.

FREMM Bretagne launches an ASTER 30 missile

On Saturday, May 20, USS Porter and USS Oscar Austin, two US Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, showcased their prowess by launching five SM-2 missiles in defense of the force during two scenario events against closely separated subsonic Firejet targets. This marked the culmination of four days of high-end integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) action at the Hebrides Range.

“Formidable Shield provides a venue to showcase the talent and effectiveness of the Alliance. These teams have trained, and are prepared to execute, high-end warfighting operations in challenging scenarios and in unique conditions,” said Lt. Cmdr. Sean Standen, lead Formidable Shield exercise planner. “Our demonstrated capabilities here as an Alliance provide further proof of the readiness and proficiency of our ships and Allied units.”

Formidable Shield 23, with participation from 13 NATO allied and partner nations, brings together over 20 ships, 35 aircraft, a diverse range of ground units including radars, surface-to-air missile systems, high mobility artillery rocket systems, and a robust contingent of nearly 4,000 NATO personnel.