The US and nine partner nations are taking part in Nato exercise Formidable Shield, which is being held primarily at the UK’s Hebrides Range in the Western Isles of Scotland.

The exercise is a live-fire air and missile defence drill and involves the participation of several ships and personnel. It will also be conducted at the Andoya training site off Norway.

The participating nations are Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the UK, and the US.

A total of 15 ships, dozens of aircraft, and around 3,300 personnel will take part in the drills.

The Spanish Navy’s ESPS Cristobal Colon warship serves as the exercise’s flagship.

Formidable Shield will run until 3 June and is being conducted by Naval Striking and Support Forces Nato on behalf of the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet.

Nato deputy spokesperson Piers Cazalet said: “Formidable Shield shows how allies are working together to defend Nato forces and populations from the very real threat of missiles.

“In conflicts around the world, cruise and ballistic missiles are often the weapon of choice, both for state and non-state actors.

“So at a time when we see missile arsenals growing and becoming more complex, it is important that allies continue to adapt and exercise our defences.”

During the exercise, the naval platforms will detect, track and defend against an array of anti-ship and ballistic missiles.

According to a Nato statement, part of the exercise will see ships detect and track a missile flying at over 20,000km/h.

Sharing of common tactical pictures, conducting joint mission planning, coordinating in shooting down incoming missiles will also be performed during the exercise.

Nato noted that the drills will be monitored by surveillance aircraft.

In May 2019, the US and eight partner nations took part in Formidable Shield.