Formidable Shield, a NATO training exercise to test eight countries’ integrated air and missile defense capabilities, is being supported by QinetiQ.
One of the most sophisticated and complex exercises undertaken in the U.K., Formidable Shield will take place in the Outer Hebrides, off the Scottish coast. It involves 14 ships, 20 aircrafts and around 3,300 from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. The exercise began on September 24, 2017 and will run through October 18.
“Being able to undertake such complex and important exercises is vital for the UK’s future defense capability,” said Steve Fitz-Gerald, the managing director maritime, land and weapons at QinetiQ. “In the MOD Hebrides Range, we have a truly world-class capability on our door step that is attractive to international customers and Formidable Shield is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate what the facility is capable of.
QinetiQ operates the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Hebrides Range, as part of the Long Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA), and aims to improve allied interoperability in a live-fire defense environment through NATO command and control reporting structures.
The exercise will see these ships detecting, tracking and defending against a range of anti-ship and ballistic missiles, testing their in-service systems against live targets. It is the first time in Europe that Allies practice defending against incoming ballistic missiles with no warning.
“North Korean tests have shown the danger of rogue states developing longer range missiles,” said Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon. “By hosting this cutting-edge exercise in anti-missile defense with allied navies, Britain is at the forefront of developing a more effective response to this growing threat.”
This endeavor follows on the At Sea Demonstration 2015, also run by QinetiQ at the Hebrides Range. The company, working alongside the MOD, invested £60 million in the Range to modernize equipment and facilities ahead of this exercise.