NATO allies arrive at RAF Lossiemouth for major exercise

French and Italian Air Force aircraft park at RAF Lossiemouth for NATO Exercise.
Photo Credit: Royal Air Force

NATO allies, including French and Italian Air Force assets have now arrived at RAF Lossiemouth to take part in a large-scale NATO exercise.

The NATO partners will join with Royal Air Force aircraft to participate in the large-scale NATO Exercise, Formidable Shield, that will be conducted in the North Atlantic and High North.

In addition to RAF Typhoons and Poseidon aircraft, Rafale M jets of the French Navy as well as Italian Air Force Typhoons supported by an Italian Air Force KC 767 A tanker will operate from RAF Lossiemouth

Photo Credit: Royal Air Force

In addition to the aircraft basing themselves out of Lossiemouth, aircraft from other NATO allies will fly in from other bases to take part in the exercises off the Scottish coast. This will also include live fire exercises at ranges in Northern Scotland.

RAF Lossiemouth is situated close to fast jet training areas meaning it is able to provide the multi-domain exercise area needed for one of this type. 

Royal Air Force Wing Commander McAuley also said: “In utilising the array of low-level flying areas in Scotland and Tain Range, our allies are able to incorporate challenging and realistic targets into the exercise environment.”

Photo Credit: Royal Air Force


About Exercise Formidable Shield

Exercise Formidable Shield is held biannually and is designed to improve allied interoperability in a joint live-fire, Integrated Air and Missile Defence environment, using NATO command and control reporting structures.

Allied nations practice and assess their ability to share situational awareness, carry out NATO-level mission planning.

The exercise is now set to run until 26 May, and is the largest of its type that NATO will run this year. 

Photo Credit: Royal Air Force

In addition to the RAF Lossiemouth based elements, the Commander Task Group, Integrated Air and Missile Defence, has embarked aboard the Spanish Navy Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate ESPS Blas de Lezo that will provide the command and control function for the exercise. 

The Spanish frigate will operate with the U.S. 6th Fleet for the duration of Formidable Shield, and will provide the command and control function for the exercise.

In total, the exercise involves 13 NATO allied and partner nations with more than 20 ships, 35 aircraft and an array of ground units consisting of radars, Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems.

Almost 4,000 NATO personnel will be involved in the exercise

About RAF Lossiemouth

RAF Base Lossiemouth is a Royal Air Force (RAF) station located in Moray, Scotland. It is situated near the town of Lossiemouth, on the eastern coast of Scotland, overlooking the Moray Firth.

The base is one of the largest and busiest RAF stations in the United Kingdom and plays a vital role in the country’s defense capabilities.

Originally established in 1939, RAF Lossiemouth has a rich history and has been involved in various military operations over the years.

During World War II, it served as a training base for bomber crews and played a crucial role in maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare. After the war, the base continued to evolve and adapt to changing military needs.

Currently, RAF Lossiemouth is primarily home to two operational squadrons: No. 1 (Fighter) Squadron and No. 2 (Army Cooperation) Squadron, both operating the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

The base is responsible for providing quick reaction alert (QRA) cover, which means it maintains a constant state of readiness to respond to any potential aerial threats to UK airspace.

A RAF Typohhon escorts a Russian Tu-142 surveillance aircraft.
Photo Credit: Royal Air Force

QRA Typhoons from the base were scrambled earlier this month to intercept a Russian military aircraft which was detected near United Kingdom airspace to the north of Scotland.

The intercepted Russian aircraft was a Tupolev Tu-142 Maritime Patrol aircraft, known by the NATO code name as a Bear-F. 

The Tu-142 patrol aircraft had approached from the North-East and was operating in international airspace over the Norwegian Sea and North Atlantic Ocean. 

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
5 Min Read
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