Nato ships hold missile defence drill near Scotland, Pentagon says

The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (second, right) off the coast of Scotland, alongside (from left) HMS Iron Duke, HMNOWS Helge Ingstad, USS Donald Cook, USS Philippine Sea, USS George H W Bush and HMS Westminster, on Aug 8, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Warships from eight Nato countries participated in live-fire self-defence exercises of ship and missile systems near Scotland on Sunday (Oct 15), the United States Department of Defence said.

Ships from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain and the US defended against a medium-range missile, as well as three anti-ship cruise missiles.

The USS Donald Cook successfully intercepted a medium-range missile with a Standard Missile-3 Block IB guided missile during the exercise, the Pentagon said.

Three anti-ship cruise missiles were fired upon by Spanish and Dutch ships participating in the Formidable Shield exercises in Britain's Ministry of Defence's Hebrides Range located on the Western Isles of Scotland.

The US Department of Defence said this was the first time Nato's "smart defence" concept was demonstrated with some ships providing protection to other vessels targeting ballistic missiles.

The Formidable Shield exercise began on Sept 24 and is scheduled to conclude on Wednesday. The Pentagon said the exercise is planned to be a biennial event and is designed to assure allies, deter adversaries and demonstrate US commitment to collective defence of the Nato alliance.

Following the Nato exercises, the US Missile Defence Agency successfully test-fired a Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) from the USS McFaul. The SM-6 test was not part of the Formidable Shield exercise, the Pentagon said.

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