NATO

'Literally rocket science': NATO air defence drills focused by Russia

Exercise Ramstein Legacy put systems through live-fire tests and developed interoperability.

As Russia's invasion of Ukraine casts a shadow over NATO's military exercises in Europe, partners have seen a "heightened" focus on missile drills across the Baltic states and Poland.

Seventeen surface-based air and missile defence systems were integrated and tested in live-fire scenarios on Exercise Ramstein Legacy 22, with just as many allied nations taking part.

The Starstreak air defence system, a capability now in the hands of Ukrainian soldiers thanks to British donations, was one of the weapons on show, while about 50 aircraft also joined from bases across Europe.

Colonel Graham Taylor, Commander 7 Air Defence Group, 12 Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "The recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia has really just heightened the focus.

"It's given everybody that additional level of purpose, it's reminded people that there are conventional threats out there – in this case, Russia."

Col Taylor touched on the technical nature of the capability and the support needed from all of the participating allies, adding that air defence is "literally rocket science".