Ships from nine NATO countries are taking part in live-fire air and missile defence drills off the coast of Scotland as part of an exercise named ‘Formidable Shield’, which follows NATO’s decision in 2010 to bolster the ballistic missile defence of the European allies.

Naval personnel from the US, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Germany are taking part in the 12-day exercise.

“Formidable Shield shows how Allies are working together to protect NATO forces from the real threat of ballistic missiles”, said NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu.

The operation is taking place across a large section of the North Atlantic from Scotland’s Hebrides Islands to the southern end of Iceland.