NEWS | May 27, 2019

U.S. Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Forces Participate in Formidable Shield 2019

By VP-9 Public Affairs

Sailors assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 9 participated in exercise Formidable Shield while operating out of Royal Air Force (RAF) Lossiemouth, Scotland, May 7-20, 2019.

Formidable Shield is a biennial training exercise led by U.S. 6th Fleet (C6F) and conducted by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) which aims to improve allied interoperability in a live-fire, integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) environment using NATO command and control reporting structures.

Nine nations participated by sending ships including Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Belgium, Germany, and Poland supported the exercise with staff officers embarked with Task Group IAMD. In total, approximately 3,300 personnel, 13 naval vessels, and more than 10 aircraft participated in the training exercise conducted on the U.K. Ministry of Defense’s Hebrides Range located on the Western Isles of Scotland. 

Two VP-9 P-8A Poseidon aircraft participated alongside NATO E-3 AWACS aircraft, ensuring the safety of military and civilian ships and aircraft throughout the exercise. During the training, participants conducted live supersonic and subsonic engagements of various range targets by the Standard Missile (SM) 2, Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM), Aster 15, and Aster 30 missile platforms. Additionally, the guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) conducted an SM-3 engagement against a simulated ballistic missile target while concurrently engaging Hebrides Range-launched “Firejet” targets with SM-2 missiles.

Leadership praised the experience of working with NATO allies as extremely valuable for aircrew, maintainers, planners, and tactical support personnel.

“Having multinational allies, with whom we are capable of integrating seamlessly within the air and maritime domains, is extremely critical to our strategic and operational objectives in the North Atlantic and abroad,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan Taylor, the officer in charge of the VP-9 detachment. “This exercise demonstrated our ability to do so in a challenging IAMD scenario.”

VP-9 operates the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft capable of conducting Anti-submarine Warfare, Maritime Domain Awareness, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, Anti-Surface Warfare, and search-and-rescue missions. The squadron is forward deployed to the C6F area of responsibility.

U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/C6F, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.