The US-led allied air and missile defence exercise known as Formidable Shield has commenced at the Hebrides Range in the Western Isles off the shore of Scotland.

The multinational maritime integrated exercise is slated to continue until 18 October and aims to strengthen cooperation among Nato Allies against possible missile threats.

It is set to involve the participation of a British Royal Navy Type 45 Destroyer and two Type 23 Frigates, in addition to vessels and crew members from Canada, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands and the US.

A total of 14 ships, ten aircraft and approximately 3,300 personnel are participating in the UK exercise.

The allied vessels will be involved in detecting, tracking and defending against a wide range of anti-ship and ballistic missiles using Nato command and control procedures.

"Formidable Shield is a terrific example of the leading role that the UK plays in the development of maritime air and missile defence."

Royal Navy assistant chief of naval staff (capability) rear admiral Paul Bennett said: “Formidable Shield is a terrific example of the leading role that the UK plays in the development of maritime air and missile defence: protecting our people and working with our allies.”

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Exercise Formidable Shield will see 13 vessels fire on 12 live missile targets over a period of four days, thereby enhancing cooperation among allies to work together in an air and missile defence environment.

In addition, several activities will be carried out, including the sharing of a common tactical picture and the performance of joint mission planning and engagement coordination initiatives.

Maritime patrol aircraft and Nato airborne warning and control system (AWACS) surveillance aircraft will conduct aerial over-watch and ensure that the airspace is clear for the duration of the exercise.

Image: The British Royal Navy's Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon. Photo: courtesy of Crown copyright.