According to the French Navy, the crew of first ship-in-class Forbin intercepted the sea skimming target flying at a speed in excess of 3,000 Km/h (likely a GQM-163A Coyote Sea Skimming Target Vehicle) using an MBDA Aster 30 surface to air missile.
Formidable Shield is a live-fire integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) exercise conducted by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO on behalf of U.S. Sixth Fleet. The 2021 edition kicked off on May 15 at the U.K. Ministry of Defence’s Hebrides Range in the vicinity of the Western Isles of Scotland.
The exercise exhibits allied interoperability in a live-fire joint IAMD environment, using NATO command and control reporting structures. Fifteen ships from ten nations are participating this year.
For the record, Aquitaine-class FREMM Frigate Bretagne intercepted a supersonic target using the shorter range Aster 15 missile during the 2019 edition of the exercise.
At Formidable Shield 2021, Royal Netherlands Navy Air Defense and Command Frigate (ADCF) HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën (F802) engaged a subsonic target with two Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) on May 19, 2021:
While the Italian Navy (Marina Militare) also announced today on Twitter that its FREMM Frigate ITS Antonio Marceglia launched an Aster 30 missile against an unspecified target:
About Aster SAM
According to MBDA, the Aster missile family comprises Aster 15 for short to medium range and the Aster 30 for short to long range. There is extensive commonality between the two variants with both missiles featuring the same terminal dart. Aster’s terminal dart is a lightweight, highly maneuvering and agile missile equipped with a high-performance active RF seeker. Thanks to the unique combination of aerodynamic control and direct thrust vector control called “PIF-PAF”, the missile is capable of high maneuvers. Together, these features give Aster with advanced hit-to-kill capability. While both missiles have a maximum speed of Mach 3, Aster 15 has a range “in excess of 30 km” while Aster 30 range is “in excess of 100 km”.
Horizon type air-defense destroyers
The Horizon frigates were originally built between 2000 and 2010 in a joint program between Fincantieri and Naval Group, providing the Italian and French Navies with two first-class anti-air destroyers each.
The vessel is designed for a range of missions, including high-intensity operations, all with reduced crewing. Horizon (classified as frigates by the French Navy) are front-line fighting ships with one highly specialized mission: anti-air warfare, also known as air defence. The ships’ chief capabilities are thus airspace control over areas of operations, air defence command and control and anti-air cover for carrier groups and convoys. Horizon frigates provide protection against high-intensity threats and attacks by anti-ship missiles thanks to their 48x VLS cells for Aster 15 and Aster 30 surface to air missiles. They also contribute to air/sea control during military operations by providing air defence command and control of allied forces.
Naviris, the 50/50 owned joint venture by Fincantieri and Naval Group, is working on the preliminary studies for the Mid Life Update of these ships.
Length / beam overall: 153 m / 20.3 m
Displacement / full load: 6,500 tonnes / 7,300 tonnes
Accommodation: 210 (complement of 190 + 20 passengers)
Range: 7,000 nm at 18 knots
Maximum speed: 29 knots