Exercise FORMIDABLE SHIELD, designed to test the ballistic missile defence capabilities of NATO and its partner nations, highlighted how integration between platforms and nations can be a significant advantage in the battlespace. Taking place at Ministry of Defence (MOD) Hebrides Range in Scotland from 8-26 May 2023, it brought together 4,000 service personnel from 13 nations to hone their skills and connect with allies. It featured platforms such as the Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 Lightning 2, and the exercise saw the air, land, and maritime domains mastered by NATO.

A total of more than 20 ships, 35 aircraft, and eight ground units, including radar platforms and the US M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), took part in the biennial exercise.

By working together with allies and partners, as well as ensuring that the single services within UK Defence are integrated, threats to collective security and stability can be deterred and defeated.

The exercise places an emphasis on not only working together, but also adapting and developing rather than repeating the same drills each iteration. As a prominent example of integration, HMS Defender linked up with an Royal Air Force Typhoon and HMS Kent, via satellite, to intercept an incoming missile using an air defence system that was first developed in a joint programme with France and Italy, and is now being upgraded at industrial sites across the UK.

As Defence’s integrator, Strategic Command is working to ensure that a culture of integration is fostered throughout the military and beyond.

Driving integration, along with leading the cyber and electromagnetic domain, are important concepts that Strategic Command will incorporate into its exhibition stand at Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) on 12-15 Sep 2023 at ExCeL, London.