CONTENT PREVIEW
Naval Weapons

Integrated air and missile defence tested in ‘Formidable Shield 2017’

16 October 2017

Key Points

  • An SM-3 Block IB missile launched from USS Donald Cook intercepted a Terrier Oriole medium-range ballistic missile target vehicle in the exo-atmosphere
  • The MDA and the USN subsequently conducted a flight test of a SM-6 missile controlled test vehicle from USS McFaul The SM-3 Block IB interceptor missile pictured just moments after launch from USS Donald Cook.  The missile successfully intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile target in the exo-atmosphere. (US Navy 6th Fleet.)The SM-3 Block IB interceptor missile pictured just moments after launch from USS Donald Cook. The missile successfully intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile target in the exo-atmosphere. (US Navy 6th Fleet.)

A Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block 1B missile fired from US Navy (USN) DDG-51 guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) has successfully intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) target in the exo-atmosphere as part of Exercise ‘Formidable Shield 2017’.

The 15 October event, executed in the North Atlantic, formed part of a complex live-fire integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) scenario that also included the simultaneous engagement of air-breathing targets replicating anti-ship cruise missiles.

Running from 24 September to 18 October, ‘Formidable Shield 2017’ is designed to improve allied interoperability in an IAMD environment, using NATO command-and-control reporting structures and datalink architecture. More than 14 ships, 10 aircraft, and approximately 3,300 personnel from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States are participating in the exercise, which is being conducted on the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) Hebrides Range on the Western Isles of Scotland.

Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) is conducting ‘Formidable Shield 2017’ on behalf of the US 6th Fleet. The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is also a major participant in the exercise.

The IAMD live firing event was based on a collective self-defence scenario. The MRBM engagement saw Donald Cook – equipped with then Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system - successfully detect and track the Terrier Oriole target vehicle and then destroy the threat in space using an SM-3 Block 1B interceptor. The Terrier Oriole had been launched from the MoD Hebrides range site on South Uist.

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