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May 21 2021

STRIKFORNATO Holds Defensive LiVe-Fire Missile Interception Exercise

Oeiras, Portugal – Exercise At-Sea Demo/Formidable Shield’s live-fire Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) environment is the most ambitious demonstration to date and the only event with actual interception of ballistic missiles in space within Europe.

The exercise, which takes place May 15 to June 3, 2021, provides the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to conduct land and sea based defence against simultaneous cruise and ballistic missile threats with coordinated command and control.

“At-Sea-Demo/Formidable Shield allows Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) headquarters command and control of a multinational force to provide capable, credible deterrence against aggression,” said Royal Marines Colonel Andrew Lock, Assistant Chief of Staff Operations at STRIKFORNATO. “These types of exercises demonstrate our technical and tactical capabilities to defend the Alliance.”

This year, as the command and control node for NATO forces, STRIKFORNATO is conducting the exercise between the ten participating nations as they work together to respond to integrated air and missile defence threats. Serving as the critical link to integrate the complex sea, land, air, and space systems from multiple nations into a task force, the staff is focused on strengthening their ability to share common tactical pictures, share situational awareness, and conduct NATO-level mission planning and engagement coordination.

“Several live-fire and simulated engagements against subsonic, supersonic, and ballistic targets demonstrations will take place during the exercise, including the first defensive live-intercept of a ballistic missile using multinational data systems to track the target,” said U.S Navy Cmdr. Brett Lefever, Deputy Integrated Missile Defence branch at STRIKFORNATO. “The multinational cooperation for a ballistic missile intercept in outer space is truly remarkable and proves the Alliance’s commitment to interoperability and defence.”

To fully support the complex nature of the exercise, STRIKFORNATO responded by standing up a Joint Operations Centre in Oeiras, Portugal and a forward-deployed staff at-sea onboard the Spanish Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate ESPS Cristóbal Colón (F-105), which is the designated flagship of the Commander, Task Group Integrated Air and Missile Defence, Capt. Jonathan Lipps. Additional personnel support events taking place at the range control stations in the U.K.

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.

U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

The Royal Netherlands Navy Air Defense and Command Frigate (ADCF) HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën (F802) engages a subsonic target with two Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM), May 19, 2021. Courtesy photo: Royal Danish Navy

Story by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO

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