US 6th Fleet staging ballistic missile defense drill in Northern Sea

Illustration: USS Ross sails in formation with European warships to begin At Sea Demonstration 2015 (ASD 15) Oct. 18, 2015. Photo: US Navy

As announced last year by the U.S. Naval Forces Europe commander, Admiral Michelle Howard, the U.S. 6th Fleet will be staging a ballistic missile defense exercise in Scottish waters between September and October.

Named Formidable Shield 17, the exercise is taking place at the U.K. Ministry of Defense’s Hebrides Range located on the Western Isles of Scotland.

The purpose of Formidable Shield is to improve allied interoperability in a live-fire integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) environment, using NATO command and control reporting structures. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States are scheduled to participate in this exercise.

This exercise will bring together ships from seven nations to track and engage three ballistic missile and 14 subsonic or two supersonic anti-ship cruise missile targets in an operationally realistic scenario to flex their capability and high end interoperability.

“In order to increase our capabilities and meet the challenges we face, we must continue to seek out opportunities to test our forces with high-end training,” Admiral Howard said in September 2016. “Last year a number of Alliance members participated in the Maritime Theater Missile Defense’s at-Sea demonstration on the Hebrides Range off the Scottish Coast which featured the first international ship queuing for ballistic-missile defense shots by U.S. Navy destroyers.”

On October 20, 2015, US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) successfully intercepted a ballistic missile in the North Atlantic Ocean during the Maritime Theater Missile Defense (MTMD) Forum’s At Sea Demonstration (ASD)..

That was the first time a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IA guided interceptor was fired on a non-U.S. range and the first intercept of a ballistic missile threat in the European theater.

 

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