NATO allies are participating with RAF aircraft in the large-scale NATO Exercise, called Formidable Shield, which is undertaken in the North Atlantic and High North.

Besides RAF Typhoons and Poseidon aircraft, French Navy’s Rafale M jets and Italian Air Force Typhoons supported by an Italian Air Force KC 767 A tanker will fly from RAF Lossiemouth during the exercise.

Aircraft from other NATO allies flying from other bases will also take part in the exercises undertaken off the Scottish coast as well as in the live fire exercises at ranges in Northern Scotland.

RAF Lossiemouth is located close to fast jet training areas.

RAF Lossiemouth Officer Commanding Station Operations wing commander McAuley 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.”

This exercise is conducted biannually and is intended to improve allied interoperability in a joint live-fire, Integrated Air and Missile Defence environment, leveraging NATO command and control reporting structures.

The allied nations practice and evaluate their capability to share situational awareness, undertake NATO-level mission planning.

Formidable Shield will run until 26 May.

It is considered as the largest exercise of its kind that NATO will run this year.

Besides the RAF Lossiemouth based components, the Commander Task Group, Integrated Air and Missile Defence has embarked aboard ESPS Blas de Lezo, the Spanish Navy Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate, which will offer the command and control function for the exercise.

The Spanish frigate will run with the US 6th Fleet for the duration of the exercise.

The exercise will see involvement of 13 NATO allied and partner nations with over 20 ships, 35 aircraft and a host of ground units comprising radars, surface-to-air missile systems, high mobility artillery rocket systems and around 4,000 NATO personnel.