The NATO naval exercise ‘Formidable Shield’ seems still be be ongoing although the action has moved to the area to the West of the Hebrides and North of Donegal. There was a brief hiatus a few days ago when a cluster of the participants tucked themselves in behind the Outer Hebrides apparently to ride out a storm – hopefully the Russians won’t come if the weather’s bad!
Publicised as an air (missile) defence exercise we had suspected the activity would also involve submarines and we got confirmation of that yesterday when at least one US submarine exited the Clyde and headed to the exercise area North of Donegal. Fishermen need to keep a weather eye for ‘tinfish’ a contest between in SSN and a trawler can only have one result.
Main activity today appears to be in the Atlantic to the West of Uist and the presence of various support craft indicates firing from the QinetiQ ranges in the Hebrides. Additionally a large group of warships with the French Naval tanker is still to the East of the Outer Hebrides with another smaller group just North of Tiree. Meanwhile to the North and West of Donegal there are two other small groups.
Warnings in relation to sea and air traffic will last until the 18th of October.
There have been no incidents as yet although the brief stranding of a Minke Whale we reported on (Co Down coast) could have been linked to sonar pollution which is thought to disorient whales and dolphins. At the time there was considerable exercise activity West of the Isle of Man.
Image: French Navy tanker – support ship.
pp Celtic League Military Monitoring