Allies defend against subsonic anti-ship cruise missiles during Formidable Shield 2017

USS Mitscher (DDG 57) launches an SM-2 missile to intercept a simulated enemy missile during exercise Formidable Shield 2017, October 7. Photo: US Navy

In a live-fire integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) scenario organized as part of exercise Formidable Shield 2017 off the coast of Scotland, ally ships worked together to defend against three subsonic anti-ship cruise missiles on October 7.

During the collective self-defense scenario, Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal (FFH 336) fired Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) fired Standard Missiles-2 at the incoming Mirach and Firejet anti-ship cruise missiles as part of a no-notice launch of anti-ship cruise missiles in the IAMD exercise scenario.

The Mirach and Firejet missiles were launched from the U.K. Ministry of Defense’s Hebrides Range located on the Western Isles of Scotland.

Simultaneously, ships from France, Italy, Spain, and USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) tracked a short-range ballistic-missile target that was also fired from the Hebrides Range during a simulated engagement, conducting all steps of a routine engagement.

More than 14 ships, 10 aircraft, and approximately 3,300 personnel from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S., are participating in FS17.

Formidable Shield 2017 began Sept. 24, and is scheduled to conclude Oct. 18, 2017. This exercise is planned to be a recurring, biennial event, and is designed to assure allies, deter adversaries, and demonstrate our commitment to collective defense of the NATO alliance. Formidable Shield and exercise Joint Warrior 17-2, a U.K.-led, multinational exercise in a maritime training environment for allies to improve interoperability and prepare forces for combined operations, are occurring concurrently.

“This exercise provides the opportunity to use portions of NATO BMD architecture and develop potential tactics, techniques and procedures in the NATO operations. STRIKFORNATO is, since 2016, the organization responsible for control of NATO Maritime Ballistic Missile Defense forces; Formidable Shield is the ideal opportunity to exercise those capabilities at sea, for the first time, with a NATO IAMD task group. This exercise is a prime example of NATO strength and demonstrates the commitment of NATO allies to the security of Europe,” said Rear Adm. Francesco Covella, Italian Navy, STRIKFORNATO Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations.

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