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QinetiQ hosts latest US-led NATO exercise


QinetiQ, the global integrated defence and security company, has once again supported and hosted At Sea Demonstration/ Formidable Shield (ASD/FS) the latest US-led NATO training exercise at MOD Hebrides, Scotland. Responsible for modernising the base to enable the exercise to take place, QinetiQ worked closely with international partners within NATO and made a significant contribution to allies’ abilities to deliver against future threats. 


Following the last Formidable Shield exercise in 2019, QinetiQ was tasked with upgrading many of the facilities within the MOD Hebrides range in advance of this year’s exercise. A significant number of USA-funded infrastructure investments were delivered, including the building of a new Ammunition Processing Building. Additionally, an existing launch pad was refurbished and upgraded to support the firing of the new GQM Coyote supersonic sea skimming target which was used in the training exercise. This was both the first time the target had been launched from UK soil and that NATO allies had the ability to experience and test their combat responses to it.

Over 3,300 personnel, 16 ships, and 31 aircraft joined together from 10 NATO nations to take part in the U.S. SIXTH Fleet and Maritime Theater Missile Defense Forum’s (MTMD-F) ASD/FS21. Participants from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, worked together to test their ability to track, identify and ultimately destroy incoming threats, including testing Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD).

The event was an overwhelming success on many levels, delivering many strategic and operational benefits that strengthened the defence and security of the UK and our NATO partner Nations. This exercise was truly a step-change in complexity and breadth from the previous Formidable Shield exercises, and the geographic split of the exercise between the MOD Hebrides and Norwegian Andoya Space Centre represented a realistic ‘fight tonight’ scenario of long-range offensive Anti-Surface Warfare combined with defensive Anti-Air Warfare of a multinational Maritime Task Group. In effect, all the nations taking part were able to train as they would fight and demonstrate seamless interoperability by defeating simultaneous attacks from both ballistic and supersonic missiles, all while under Electronic Warfare attack. The Royal Navy was especially pleased to play a significant part with HMS DRAGON, ARGYLL and LANCASTER. They not only acted as an integral part of the Task Force, but they also carried out essential testing and trials of new equipment and software that will ensure the Royal Navy and NATO continue to field battle-winning capabilities well into the future.” said Captain Philip Tilden, Head of Above Water Battlespace Capability, Royal Navy.

“Coordinating over 3,000 people from 10 different nations is no easy feat. It’s a huge testament to the exceptional collaboration we have across QinetiQ to provide an outstanding experience for our customers. We work hand in glove with US and NATO partners to continually deliver the best outcomes and take pride in the contribution made to the defence capabilities of nations involved. Formidable Shield is a great example of Mission led Innovation in action, supporting inter-operability of UK forces and our allies. It’s paramount the UK’s systems are stress tested to better prepare for our real-world adversaries, and together we work to ensure the future capabilities of our forces.” said Steve Fitz-Gerald, Group Managing Director Maritime & Land, QinetiQ.

QinetiQ manages 16 Ministry of Defence sites across the country as part of the Long Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA).