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For the first time, an exercise in the European theatre will include a no-notice launch of ballistic and air defence targets and will test the live-fire version of the SMART DEFENCE concept, which involves air defence units protecting ballistic missile defence units“.

Note Hebrides on the Map – upper left. The (Outer) Hebrides is where Trump’s mother was born and grew up. She came to New York in 1930, shortly after the 1929 stock market crash, when the US employment rate was already around 10%. She claimed to come as a maid, but after the Wall Street crash New York had no need for maids. The US takes too many unneeded economic immigrants, whereas only a tiny percentage of immigrants are refugees. Scotland was emptied of its people to make way for sheep, military exercises, and nuclear contamination (Dounreay, etc.). There are many times more Scots outside of Scotland as within.

NATO News Release:
Major air and missile defence exercise starts off Scotland
24 Sep. 2017 – Last updated: 24 Sep. 2017 20:20

A major Allied air and missile defence exercise got underway at the Hebrides Range in the Western Isles off Scotland on Sunday (24 September 2018) with the aim of fostering cooperation between NATO Allies in the face of possible missile threats. Exercise “Formidable Shield”, which runs until 18 October, involves ships and aircraft from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. 14 ships, 10 aircraft and around 3,300 personnel will be involved in the exercise.

Formidable Shield will see Allied ships detecting, tracking and defending against a range of anti-ship and ballistic missiles using NATO command and control procedures. Drills will include sharing a common tactical picture, conducting joint mission planning and engagement coordination.

The live-fire naval exercise will be the first time in Europe that Allies practice defending against incoming ballistic missiles with no prior warning.

Maritime patrol aircraft and NATO AWACS surveillance aircraft will provide aerial over-watch and ensure that the airspace is clear.

Parts of Formidable Shield will overlap with the UK-led Joint Warrior exercise, which also take place in Scotland.

NATO decided to develop a capability to defend its European members from ballistic missile threats in 2010. NATO missile defence links Allied sensors and weapons together in a single system. Major components of NATO missile defence include four U.S. Navy destroyers with the ‘Aegis’ missile defence system home-ported in Rota, Spain and a U.S. operated land-based system in Romania known as ‘Aegis Ashore’. Other key components include an early warning radar in Turkey. NATO’s air command in Ramstein, Germany, commands the system.” http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_147113.htm

SEP 22, 2017 Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) will execute the Integrated Air and Missile Defence exercise FORMIDABLE SHIELD 17 from 24 September to 18 October 2017.
FORMIDABLE SHIELD 17 is an exercise aimed to improve allied interoperability in a live-fire, Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) environment, using NATO command and control reporting structures.
8 force contributing NATO Nations, 14 ships, more than 10 aircraft, and approximately 3300 personnel will participate in the exercise, providing an opportunity to simulate real world operations, highlighted by combined IAMD and air defence live-fire engagements.
For the first time, an exercise in the European theatre will include a no-notice launch of ballistic and air defence targets and will test the live-fire version of the SMART DEFENCE concept, which involves air defence units protecting ballistic missile defence units.
Responsible for command and control of NATO Maritime Ballistic Missile Defence forces, STRIKFORNATO will execute the exercise from its headquarters in Oeiras, Portugal, on behalf of the U.S. 6thFleet.  The exercise will further develop the Allied nations’ ability to operate amongst one another, enhancing unit cohesion and providing tremendous training value for all involved.
Simultaneous to exercise FORMIDABLE SHIELD 17, a large portion of STRIKFORNATO’s staff will be deploying to the United States to serve on the Combined Forces Maritime Component Command staff in exercise BOLD ALLIGATOR 17, demonstrating STRIKFORNATO’s robust capabilities and high demand.
STRIKFORNATO is a rapidly deployable maritime headquarters that provides scalable command and control across the full spectrum of the Alliance’s fundamental security tasks.  Comprised of 12 nations, STRIKFORNATO focuses on Joint Maritime Expeditionary Operations, mainly through the integration of U.S. naval and amphibious forces into NATO operations
.” http://www.sfn.nato.int/media-center/news/2017/strikfornato-executes-exercise-formidable-shield-17.aspx

News Release of US Naval Forces:
Allied Forces Begin Inaugural Exercise Formidable Shield 2017
SEPTEMBER 24, 2017 AT 7:48 AM UTC
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

Exercise Formidable Shield 2017 is a live-fire integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) exercise conducted by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO on behalf of U.S. 6th Fleet, at the U.K. Ministry of Defense’s Hebrides Range in the vicinity of the Western Isles of Scotland, started Sept. 24, 2017. 

Public Domain Work by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet

Exercise Formidable Shield 2017

Formidable Shield is designed to improve allied interoperability in an IAMD environment, using NATO command-and-control reporting structures. This is the first time a NATO IAMD task group will be exercised at sea.  

“Exercise Formidable Shield 2017 brings together partners and allies in a dynamic environment to hone and refine our missile defense capabilities, working together to demonstrate our combined ability to provide for cooperative security and collective defense in support of the NATO Alliance,” said Capt. Shanti Sethi, commander, Task Group IAMD for Formidable Shield, and commander, U.S. 6th Fleet’s Task Force 64.

More than 14 ships, 10 aircraft, and approximately 3,300 personnel from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States are participating in Formidable Shield. Staff members from Belgium and Denmark are also contributing to the inaugural iteration of Formidable Shield.

Participating nations will 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.

“As missile technology advances, maritime forces must be prepared to play an important role in providing swift and accurate defensive measures to deter adversaries,” said Sethi.

U.S. ships involved include the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Donald Cook (DDG 75), USS Mitscher (DDG 57) and USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81). 

Formidable Shield is scheduled to conclude Oct. 18, 2017.  This exercise is planned to be a recurring, biennial event, which is designed to assure allies, deter adversaries, and demonstrate our commitment to collective defense of the alliance.

Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, based in Lisbon, Portugal, is a rapidly deployable, maritime headquarters that provides scalable command and control across the full spectrum of warfare areas.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with joint, allied and interagency partners, to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa
“. http://www.c6f.navy.mil/news/allied-forces-begin-inaugural-exercise-formidable-shield-2017

US Marines News Release:
Sep 25, 2017 Camp Lejeune, N.C. – Marines with 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion prepare their vehicles to perform amphibious breaching operations in preparation for the combined, joint exercise, Bold Alligator at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Sept. 20, 2017. The Marines operated amphibious assault vehicles with a mounted MK-154 Mine Clearance Launchers to remove notional mines and obstacles that the enemy may place on the beach or inland.

Starting on the beach, Marines launched their amphibious assault vehicles with mounted MK-154 Mine Clearance Launchers into the water. 

Once stabilized, the crewmen opened the top hatches and were able to begin the notional breach operation while communicating to Marines on the shore through the microphones in their helmets.

The battalion is tasked with tactically transporting troops and equipment during ship to shore movements, while maintaining the ability to breach and neutralize enemy threats.

“Breaching is the removal of mines and obstacles that the enemy may place on the beach or inland,” said 1st Lt. Roger Kerstetter, a platoon commander with the unit. “We’re focusing on this because the more repetitions you do, the better you’ll perform.”

Once the obstacles are destroyed, the crewmen are able to approach the beach and allow the assault element to come ashore. 

“This training is very helpful at ensuring everyone understands their role and the operation goes smoothly for Bold Alligator,” said Lance Cpl. Jayson Strother, an AAV crewman with the unit. “We have classes twice a week to make sure we are familiar with the safety and standard operating procedures.”

The Marines within the unit gained valuable experience and are able understand how their performance affects every other aspect of the exercise. The training was designed to bolster the Marines’ proficiency and prepare them for supporting future operations.

“This is my last operation with this platoon and their growth is astronomical,” said Kerstetter. “Seeing my Marines go from knowing nothing about the MK-154 to completing this large scale exercise is amazing.” http://www.marines.mil/News/News-Display/Article/1322721/teaching-breaching-beaching-2nd-aab-prepares-for-bold-alligator/

Top Photo:
MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Sept. 18, 2017)
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195) in the Mediterranean Sea, Sept. 18, 2017. Porter, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is on its fourth patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of regional allies and partners, and U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Krystina Coffey/ Released)

Photo of the UK by CIA gov and US Navy Photo of Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer