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NEWS | May 23, 2023

Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet and Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO observes Formidable Shield 2023

By Lt. Cmdr. Tyler Barker

U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Thomas Ishee, commander of U.S. Sixth Fleet and Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO), recently observed high-end integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) activity during the ongoing exercise Formidable Shield 2023, May 20.
The biennial IAMD exercise takes place from May 8 to May 26 and involves a series of live-fire events against subsonic and supersonic targets, incorporating multiple Allied ships, aircraft, and ground forces working across battlespaces to deliver effects. It is emblematic of NATO’s unparalleled cohesion and cutting-edge capacity and capability. It also demonstrates NATO members’ combined commitment to the deterrence and defense of the Euro-Atlantic Area (DDA).
“Formidable Shield 2023 demonstrates the incredible teamwork and unmatched expertise of our crews," Ishee said. "We've integrated high-end capacity to simultaneously engage multiple targets and deliver effects in all domains, demonstrating the power and potential of our Alliance."
Since the start of the exercise on May 8, Allied units and personnel in the air, land, and sea domains have engaged a series of subsonic and supersonic targets, emanating from multiple directions. Formidable Shield has afforded participating units an ideal venue to test and mature individual and combined air-defense capabilities against these targets in a variety of scenarios throughout the North Atlantic Ocean and High North.
Allies have demonstrated innovative approaches and historic engagements, as well. The Italian Air Force conducted the first air-to-air live-fire engagement of the Formidable Shield series at the Hebrides Range, May 11, while allied aircraft, including British Royal Air Force Typhoons and French Navy E-2Cs, collectively tracked a ballistic missile target launched from the Hebrides Range, highlighting the technological advantages Formidable Shield brings to the Alliance.
Meanwhile, integrated and combined operations among Allied surface units and ground forces throughout the High North enhance Allies’ abilities to knit science and technology with warfighter objectives. These objectives, both individually and collectively, continue to challenge and sharpen the skills of the collective team.
“The professionalism, performance, and proficiency of our NATO Allied teams underscores the unparalleled cohesion and capability of our Alliance," Ishee said. “I look forward to seeing the continued success of our force during Formidable Shield 2023, and in future iterations to come.”
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