Outer Hebrides Missile Defence Exercise Brings NATO Together
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Jun 5, 2023

Outer Hebrides Missile Defence Exercise Brings NATO Together

  • A multinational exercise at the MOD Hebrides Range in Scotland last month saw 4,000 service personnel from 13 nations hone their skills and connect with allies.

Exercise FORMIDABLE SHIELD, designed to test the ballistic missile defence capabilities of NATO and its partner nations, highlighted how integration between platforms and nations can be a significant advantage in the battlespace.

Taking place between 8-26 May 2023 and featuring platforms such as the Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 Lightning 2, the exercise saw the air, land, and maritime domains mastered by NATO.

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."

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"As Defence’s integrator, Strategic Command will continue to support this important NATO exercise and exploit key lessons to enhance Defence’s digital capabilities."

A total of more than 20 ships, 35 aircraft, and eight ground units, including radar platforms and the US M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), took part in the biennial exercise.

By working together with our allies and partners, as well as ensuring that the single services within UK Defence are integrated, we can deter and defeat threats to our collective security and stability.

Graham Ball, Deputy Director of Integration at Strategic Command, said:
"FORMIDABLE SHIELD demonstrates the value and necessity of working with our allies to drive integration - meaning that we, and our partners, can act in 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."

The exercise places an emphasis on not only working together, but also adapting and developing rather than repeating the same drills each iteration.

As a prominent example of integration, HMS Defender linked 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, and is now being upgraded at industrial sites across the UK.

Rear Admiral James Morley, Deputy Commander of Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO), said:
"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."

As Defence’s integrator, Strategic Command is working to ensure that a culture of integration is fostered throughout the military and beyond.

Driving integration, along with leading the cyber and electromagnetic domain, are important concepts that Strategic Command will incorporate into its exhibition stand at Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) on 12-15 Sep 2023 at ExCeL, London.


Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
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