PHOTOS: NATO navies hold massive missile defence drill in Scotland as tensions with North Korea continue to mount

USS Mitscher launches an SM-2 missile to intercept a simulated enemy missile during Exercise Formidable Shield.

caption
USS Mitscher launches an SM-2 missile to intercept a simulated enemy missile during Exercise Formidable Shield.
source
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet via Flickr

Eight NATO powers have joined forces to take part in a massive missile defence training exercise – and the photos from it look extraordinary.

Britain, the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain assembled at the UK Ministry of Defence Hebrides Range to take part in “Formidable Shield,” a US-led exercise to train the countries to defend against ballistic missiles.

A total of 14 ships, ten aircraft, and about 3,300 personnel are involved in the exercise, NATO said in a statement.

Formidable Shield is the first time NATO allies have practiced defending against unpredictable ballistic missiles, it said.

The exercise began on September 24 and will run until October 18.

Scroll down to learn more about Formidable Shield through the photos below.


Formidable Shield has brought together eight different NATO navies.

The countries involvde are the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain.

The exercises cover more than 1,500 km west of the Hebrides and commercial ships are forbidden from travelling through the training throughout the exercise, French aerospace company the Thales Group said.


The aim of the exercise is to train the countries’ missile defence systems. Here’s USS Mitscher launching a missile to intercept a simulated enemy missile.

USS Mitscher launches an SM-2 missile to intercept a simulated enemy missile during Exercise Formidable Shield.

caption
USS Mitscher launches an SM-2 missile to intercept a simulated enemy missile during Exercise Formidable Shield.
source
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet via Flickr

Participating ships include: The Donald Cook and Winston S. Churchill from the US, the Somerset and Dragon from the UK, the De Ruyter and Tromp from the Netherlands, the Montréal from Canada, and the Alvaro de Bazán from Spain.


Here’s a closer look of the Mitscher firing the SM-2 missile…

source
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet via Flickr

… And a US technician and sailor analysing the launch.

source
Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey J. Hopkins/Released/Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet/Flickr

The training comes as North Korea continues to threaten the US with long-range ballistic nuclear missiles.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said, according to a MoD statement: “North Korean tests have shown the danger of rogue states developing longer range missiles. By hosting this cutting-edge exercise in anti-missile defence with allied navies, Britain is at the forefront of developing a more effective response to this growing threat.”


Here’s USS Donald Cook moored in Faslane, ready for training…


… And a Scottish tug boat escorting it out of Faslane to Formidable Shield training.

source
Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Theron J. Godbold /Released via Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet/Flickr

This is a US naval coastguard signalling a Sea Hawk helicopter to land on the Donald Cook.

source
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet via Flickr

Here are HNLMS Tromp and HNLMS De Ruyter from the Netherlands, and Britain’s HMS Somerset, moored together in Faslane.

source
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet via Flickr

Here’s a close up of the De Ruyter.

source
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet via Flickr

Britain’s HMS Dragon also joined the training.


Crew from Spain’s Alvaro de Bazan frigate shared their photos from the exercise.


Some of Formidable Shield’s exercises coincided with Exercise Joint Warrior, a UK-led joint training off Scotland’s west and north coast.

The Bad Boys (& girl!) ofthe Royal Navy flying from #Cornwall to take part in Ex Joint Warrior. Play nicely now!https://t.co/ulFMcNjqoWpic.twitter.com/nXgFtgsSuI

#Cornwallhttps://t.co/ulFMcNjqoWpic.twitter.com/nXgFtgsSuIOctober 3, 2017

Joint Warrior, which runs from October 1 to October 12, involves ships and aircraft from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the UK, and the US, the Royal Navy said.


In all this, the crews still managed to squeeze in time to socialise. Canada’s HMCS Montréal invited the US Navy’s Captain Shanti Sethi and her crew onboard for a tour and Canadian Thanksgiving dinner on Monday.