OEIRAS, Portugal - Vice Admiral Lisa M. Franchetti and her Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) staff hosted senior leaders from many NATO countries for a two-day Distinguished Visitor (DV) event in Lisbon, Portugal, marking the formal end to Exercise Formidable Shield 2019 (FS19), on 28 and 29 May 2019.
FS19 was planned and executed over the previous two years with the initial planning occurring prior to the conclusion of FS17. The DV day programme started with guests embarking guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) for a tour and reception pier side to celebrate a successful conclusion to exercise and finished with a formal programme at the STRIKFORNATO headquarters.
"I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude for your presence here, as your investment in time and energy to be here represents the significance of Formidable Shield 19,” Franchetti told the assembled guests. "That’s what this exercise serial is all about, the ability and the intent of the NATO Nations to demonstrate credible and capable integrated air and missile defence capabilities. This is a critical component of our collective defence.”
FS19 exercise spanned 19 days and helped improve Allied interoperability in a live-fire, integrated air and missile defence (IAMD) environment, using NATO command and control reporting structures.
The exercise brought Allied Nations together to practice, demonstrate, and assess their ability to share common tactical pictures, share situational awareness, conduct NATO-level mission planning and engagement coordination, and exercise force-level pre-planned responses with capabilities and limitations.
"Every nation that participated achieved their primary objective in the exercise. It was an incredible success that built on the previous exercise serials in 2015 and 2017, and it will be even better in 2021,” said Franchetti.
U.S. Navy Admiral James G. Foggo III, commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, U.S. Air Force General Jeffrey Harrigian, commander of Allied Air Command, and Royal Navy Vice Admiral Keith Blount, commander of Allied Maritime Command, Portuguese Lieutenant General Joaquim Fernando Soares de Almeida representing Portugal’s Chief of Defence, and Spanish Lieutenant General Rubén Servert, commander of Combined Air Operations Center Torrejón were among the distinguished guests in attendance. Flag and general officers representing Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, and Turkey made time to attend.
STRIKFORNATO conducted the exercise on behalf of the U.S. 6th Fleet. "We set ourselves stressing objectives in the exercise, which we were able to meet. Demonstrating our ability not only to deal with ballistic missile threats but also the proliferation of anti-ship missile threats, which we know are increasing in volume and complexity,” said Royal Navy Rear Admiral Guy Robinson, Deputy Commander of STRIKFORNATO.
In total, 13 ships, more than 10 aircraft, and approximately 3300 personnel from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Belgium and Denmark participated in more than a dozen successful live-fire and simulated engagements against subsonic, supersonic, and ballistic targets.
Among the national ‘firsts’ completed during the exercise included the first engagement of a supersonic target by an Aster-15 air defence missile, which was fired from the French frigate Bretagne (D 655), and the Royal Canadian Navy’s successful engagement of a supersonic target with an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile. USS Roosevelt conducted the first simultaneous defence by Standard Missile (SM) 2 and SM 3 against both low- and high-altitude targets in the European Theatre, demonstrating the diverse, multi-mission capability the Baseline 9 upgrade to the Aegis weapon system brings to the fleet and the joint force.
This biennial exercise series is next scheduled to commence in 2021.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and inter agency partners, to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.
STRIKFORNATO is a rapidly deployable headquarters that provides scalable command and control across the full spectrum of the Alliance’s fundamental security tasks. As part of that mission, STRIKFORNATO is responsible for integrating U.S. naval and amphibious forces into NATO operations.