Benbecula range hosting month long US led ‘high end training’

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The South Uist rocket range will be engaged in ‘high-end training’ over a period of four weeks as the US Navy host a major ballistic missile defence exercise off the Western Isles.

The US Sixth Fleet is staging the exercise, named Formidable 17, in waters off the coast while using the Ministry of Defence’s Hebrides Range in Benbecula.

The exercise will see Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Spain and the UK work alongside the US to improve allied interoperability in a live-fire integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) environment, using NATO command and control reporting structures.

This exercise will bring together ships from seven nations to track and engage three ballistic missile and 14 subsonic or two supersonic anti-ship cruise missile targets in an operationally realistic scenario to flex their capability and high end interoperability.

“In order to increase our capabilities and meet the challenges we face, we must continue to seek out opportunities to test our forces with high-end training,” Admiral Howard said in September 2016. “Last year a number of Alliance members participated in the Maritime Theater Missile Defense’s at-Sea demonstration on the Hebrides Range off the Scottish Coast which featured the first international ship queuing for ballistic-missile defense shots by U.S. Navy destroyers.”