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    Allies demonstrate unrivaled defensive capability during Formidable Shield 2023

    French Navy FREMM Bretagne Aster launch

    Courtesy Photo | In the image, the firing of the ASTER 30 missile from the FREMM Bretagne. Combined...... read more read more

    NORTH ALTANTIC OCEAN – Over the span of four action-packed days in the North Atlantic Ocean off Scotland’s west coast, from May 17 to 20, 2023, NATO Allied surface units accomplished a series of notable integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) successes while participating in exercise Formidable Shield 2023.

    Formidable Shield, Europe’s largest and most complex IAMD exercise, brings together ships, aircraft, and ground-based units from throughout the NATO Alliance. Over the course of three weeks, Allied personnel work together in a variety of IAMD scenarios, as they hone and enhance their individual and collective missile defense capabilities.

    During last week's engagements, Allied aircraft tracked and cued multiple subsonic, supersonic, and ballistic missile targets from the U.K. Ministry of Defence’s Hebrides Range in Scotland while surface ships from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United States launched 11 missiles against these targets, including Aster-30, Standard Missile-2 (SM-2), and Evolved Seasparrow Missiles (ESSM) to counter a variety of threats.

    “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 and current member of the multinational commander, task group (CTG) IAMD staff embarked aboard ESPS Blas De Lezo (F 103). “Our demonstrated capabilities here as an Alliance provide further proof of the readiness and proficiency of our ships and Allied units.”

    Royal Netherlands Navy De Zeven Provinciën-class frigate HNLMS Tromp (F 803) kicked off the blistering pace of events with a live-fire engagement using a Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) against a subsonic threat simulating an incoming cruise missile. Tromp, serving as the Force Anti-Air Warfare Commander (FAAWC) for the Formidable Shield force, set the tone with a successful launch and target intercept.

    Tromp also worked alongside their Norwegian counterparts to coordinate live-fire engagements against subsonic targets while simultaneously tracking a precision guided ballistic target. Formidable Shield is the only venue that allows these nations to train to this simultaneity of an air defense engagement while tracking a ballistic missile.

    Two days later, on May 19, the crew of Italian Navy Carlo Bergamini-class FREMM frigate ITS Carlo Margottini (F 592) had their turn to “splash” a simulated missile threat, engaging a supersonic GQM-163A target with an Aster-30 missile.

    Not to be outdone, Dutch, French, and Spanish surface units, including Tromp; French FREMM Bretagne; and exercise flagship Blas De Lezo; all took their cracks at another supersonic GQM-163A launched from the Hebrides. Allied tracking and engagements, which included ESSM, SM-2 and Aster-30 missiles, were deemed successful, capping a banner day at the range.

    “The cohesion and adaptability of the Task Group during successive days of live-fire events demonstrated their readiness to adapt to high-paced operations and knock out one threat after another,” said Lt. Cmdr. Alisha Hamilton, Formidable Shield’s overall mission director.

    Saturday, May 20, provided two U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, sister ships USS Porter (DDG 78) and USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79), their chance to shine. Through two scenario events against closely separated and stacked subsonic Firejet targets, Porter and Oscar Austin launched five SM-2s in defense of the force, continuing the winning streak and capping four days of high-end IAMD action at the Hebrides Range.

    “There really is no substitute for live-fire rehearsals,” said Cmdr. Joe Hamilton, Porter’s commanding officer. “Although our crews are incredibly well-trained on consoles and in schoolhouses, once you see and hear a missile leave its cell and engage a real-life target, you gain a real appreciation for the importance of IAMD to our ships and our Alliance. I couldn’t be prouder of our team for their hard work during Formidable Shield.”

    These four days of engagements are a snapshot of what the overall Formidable Shield offers. It comes after more than a week of other live-fire rehearsals at Hebrides and the Andøya Space Range in Norway. There are still more engagements to come this week before the exercise concludes, and there is no doubt that these Allied crews will be ready.

    Formidable Shield is a biennial integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) exercise involving a series of live-fire events against subsonic, supersonic, and ballistic targets, incorporating multiple Allied ships, ground forces, and aviation forces working across battlespaces to deliver effects. Formidable Shield demonstrates Alliance cohesion, cutting-edge capacity and capability, and NATO Allies’ combined commitment to the deterrence and defense of NATO territory.

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    Date Taken: 05.23.2023
    Date Posted: 05.23.2023 14:29
    Story ID: 445340

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