Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets and Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft have contributed to a massive NATO missile defence exercise over North Scotland and in the surrounding waters of the Atlantic and North Sea.
Taking place throughout May, Exercise Formidable Shield was led by the US Navy’s 6th Fleet and involved 13 NATO allied and partner nations practising operating against subsonic, supersonic and ballistic enemy assets using allied aircraft, ships and ground forces.
RAF Lossiemouth was a key location for the largest NATO exercise of its type to happen this year. The bi-annual exercise involved more than 20 ships, 35 aircraft and an array of ground units consisting of radars, surface-to-air missile systems, High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems known as HIMARS and nearly 4,000 NATO personnel.
This exercise has challenged our capabilities and made us a stronger fighting force, as we continue to adapt our tactics and procedures to evolving threats”. During the exercise the Italian Air Force Typhoons successfully executed a Defence Counter Air tasking over the MOD Hebrides Range, an action used to counter an attack from an aerial enemy.
Captain “Uni” Nucciarellii,
Chief Test Pilot for the Italian Air Force
As well as RAF Typhoons and Poseidon aircraft, RAF Lossiemouth hosted NATO aircraft including Rafale M jets and an E-2C Hawkeye from the French Navy, and Typhoons from the Italian Air Force, supported by a KC 767 A Tanker.
Supporting three detachments of aircraft from two of our European NATO partners – Italy and France – over a 3-week period, whilst concurrently delivering multiple Typhoon and Poseidon operations at home and abroad on operations is a massive undertaking and requires a huge effort from all involved.
RAF Lossiemouth delivered in bucket-loads across the spectrum, showing flexibility in some extremely fluid circumstances working hard to support UK operations and leaning in to support this key NATO exercise.”
Squadron Leader Bell,
Station Operations at RAF Lossiemouth
Situated close to fast jet training areas, RAF Lossiemouth is ideally situated to provide the dynamic, multi-domain exercise area needed for an exercise of this type. MOD infrastructure including the Tain Ranges and the Hebrides Ranges, as well as the open seas of the Atlantic, allowed for accurate reproduction of a combat scenario involving air, water and ground assets.