Formidable Shield: NATO launches Integrated Air and Missile Defence exercise

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office with information provided by STRIKFORNATO and Royal Air Force Public Affairs Offices

U.S. Sixth Fleet and Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) kicked off exercise Formidable Shield 2023 in the High North and North Atlantic Ocean on May 8, 2023.

From May 8 to 26, exercise Formidable Shield demonstrates Allied interoperability in a live-fire joint and combined Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) environment, using NATO command and control structures. Thirteen NATO and Partner nations, more than 20 ships and 35 aircraft, eight ground units consisting of radars, National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS), and High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), and approximately 4,000 personnel from across the Alliance are training alongside.

“Formidable Shield is the premier IAMD and live-fire rehearsal in the European theatre and highlights STRIKFORNATO’s proficiency in seamlessly integrating Allied and Partner maritime and air forces into combined operations,” said Royal Navy Rear Admiral James Morley, deputy commander, STRIKFORNATO and Officer In Charge (OIC) of the exercise. “The strength and unmatched cohesion of our trans-Atlantic Alliance lies in our mutual commitment to one another and to the deterrence and defence of the Euro-Atlantic area. This commitment shines through in complex, high-end evolutions like Formidable Shield,” he added.

Meanwhile, NATO Allies deployed their aircraft to RAF Lossiemouth, United Kingdom, to join with RAF aircraft in taking part in the exercise. In addition to RAF Typhoons and P8 Poseidon aircraft, Rafale M jets of the French Navy and Italian Air Force Typhoons supported by an Italian Air Force KC 767 A tanker fly from the air base in the north of the United Kingdom. Aircraft from other NATO Allies flying from other bases will also take part in the exercises off the Scottish coast.

“Exercise Formidable Shield is an excellent example of the UK taking a leading role in the development of IAMD with our NATO Allies,” said the Officer Commanding Station Operations at RAF Lossiemouth, Wing Commander Tim McAuley. “I am delighted that RAF Lossiemouth, is at the centre of this exercise helping to protect our people and counter a growing threat,” he concluded.

Throughout Formidable Shield, Allied and Partner forces will participate in a series of live-fire events against subsonic, supersonic, and ballistic targets, incorporating multiple Allied ships, ground forces, and aviation assets working across battlespaces to deliver effects and effectively accomplish exercise objectives. This IAMD event will also test 4th and 5th generation fighter aircraft capabilities fielded by several Allied nations.



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