Europe’s premier integrated air and missile defense drill Formidable Shield concluded October 17 with ally ships engaging a supersonic target off the coast of Scotland.
The US Navy-led exercise began September 24 and saw the participation of warships from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and US.
During the closing collective self-defense scenario, Dutch frigate HNLMS Tromp (F803) fired a Standard Missile (SM) 2 and an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) against the supersonic target.
U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons from 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, were designated as “opposition forces” and fired the supersonic target during this exercise scenario.
The two missiles fired against the supersonic target Oct. 17 occurred during the third live-fire event of FS17. During FS17, four nations conducted a total of 11 successful missile launches.
During the first live-fire event Oct. 7, the Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal (FFH 336) fired three Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) fired two SM-2s at four incoming anti-ship cruise missiles.
The second live-fire event took place on Oct. 15, with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) firing one SM-3 Block IB guided missile against a medium-range ballistic missile target. Also on Oct. 15, the Spanish frigate SPS Alvaro de Bazan (F101) fired one ESSM against an incoming anti-ship cruise missile while Tromp fired two ESSMs against a pair of incoming anti-ship cruise missiles.
Notable ‘firsts’ that occurred during FS17 include: the first time NATO’s smart defense concept was demonstrated with ships serving as air defense units protecting naval ballistic missile defense units; the first no-notice launch of anti-ship cruise missiles as part of an IAMD scenario; and the first time a NATO IAMD task group was exercised at sea.