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1st Time Ever: US P-8 Poseidon Aircraft Fires Harpoon Anti-Ship Missile In NATO Drills

The At-Sea Demo/Formidable Shield (ASD/FS) exercise in the North Atlantic featured the first-ever firing of the Harpoon anti-ship missiles from a US P-8A Poseidon marine patrol aircraft, the Navy said on Wednesday.

“Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) successfully conducted a coordinated missile launch with VP-40 using two Air to Surface Missile (AGM-84D) Harpoons against a target barge off the coast of Norway during exercise At-Sea Demo/Formidable Shield (ASD/FS), May 31, 2021,” a Navy press release said. “This marked the first use of Harpoon missiles by P-8A Poseidons in the European theater.”

Throughout the live-fire air and missile defense exercise, NATO forces conducted live engagements with Driven Ammunition Reduced Time of flight (DART) munitions, Standard Missile-2, Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM), Aster 15, and Aster 30 missiles against various targets, including subsonic Banshee, Mirach, and Firejet targets and ground-launched supersonic drone (GQM-163A) targets, the release said. Additionally, ballistic missile defense tests with Standard Missile-3 launches were conducted.

Boeing P-8 Poseidon - Wikipedia
Boeing P-8 Poseidon – Wikipedia

At-Sea Demonstration is a recurring live maritime exercise planned and supported by the Maritime Theater Missile Defense Forum (MTMD-F), a coalition of twelve nations, the release said.

Formidable Shield is a biennial training exercise led by US Sixth Fleet and conducted by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO which aims to improve allied interoperability in a live-fire, integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) environment using NATO command and control reporting structures, the release added.

In total, approximately 3,300 personnel, 16 naval vessels, and more than 10 aircraft participated in the training exercise conducted on the U.K. Ministry of Defense’s Hebrides Range located on the Western Isles of Scotland and the Andøya Space Defense facility in Andenes, Norway, according to the release.

Alongside the United States, participating nations included Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

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