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French frigate downs supersonic missile in NATO exercise

A missile fired from the French frigate FS Forbin successfully destroyed an incoming supersonic missile during At-Sea Demo/Formidable Shield 2021 exercises on May 21. Photo courtesy of 6th Fleet
A missile fired from the French frigate FS Forbin successfully destroyed an incoming supersonic missile during At-Sea Demo/Formidable Shield 2021 exercises on May 21. Photo courtesy of 6th Fleet

May 28 (UPI) -- A missile traveling at about 5,000 miles per hour was destroyed recently by a French frigate during NATO exercises off the Scottish coast, the U.S. Navy 6th Fleet and French navy said.

The French anti-missile ship FS Forbin fired an Aster 30 combat missile, destroying the target skimming the water's surface, on May 21, the nations said in a statement this week.

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It was the first combat-armed use of the missile, developed by Eurosam, a consortium jointly owned by European defense contractors MBDA Missile Systems and Thales.

The system is an element of the Principal Anti Air Missile System, an integrated anti-aircraft warfare system in use by the navies of France, Britain and Italy.

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The exercise was an element of the At-Sea Demo/Formidable Shield 2021 interoperability exercises, involving 15 ships, at least 10 aircraft and about 3,000 military personnel from 10 NATO countries and led by the U.S. Navy.

The successful downing of the incoming missile followed a series of simulated tests of the Aster 30 missile at sea.

"France confirms the state-of-the-art capabilities and excellence of its maritime assets in the field of air defense," the French navy and 6th Fleet said Thursday in the statement.

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"It also demonstrates its ability to interact within an international maritime force to provide joint defense action against supersonic and ballistic missiles."

At about 500 feet in length, the FS Forbin is a large anti-air frigate used to accompany aircraft carriers and other ships and protect them from supersonic missiles attacks.

The ship can also accommodate one helicopter for use in long-range submarine warfare.

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