In Denmark, the “frigate scandal” questions the country’s military capabilities – L’Express

In Denmark the frigate scandal questions the countrys military capabilities

The Danish press has been in a loop for several days. Forgotten the subjects linked to current affairs, “the frigate scandal” has caused a lot of ink to flow, notes International mail. On April 3, Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen summoned the army chief of staff to dismiss him. How did we get here ? Flashback to March 9: that day, the Danish frigate was the target of kamikaze drones led by Houthi rebels. The ship’s original mission was to secure maritime traffic, so no surprises with this firefight.

Officially, the operation was a success: four drones were shot down. Thus, the Danish kingdom believes that the frigate came out with flying colors, no technical problem having been reported to the executive. Except that the national press did not stop there: according to the specialized media Olfi, The Danish frigate “Iver Huitfeldt”, sent to the Red Sea to protect commercial ships from Houthi attacks, experienced a failure of its ammunition system during one of these attacks.

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The news site reveals that following a malfunction between the radar and the main combat management system, no missiles could be fired during the first half hour of the attack. Another failure: half of the shells fired would have exploded near the tube or before reaching their target. The Navy did not deny its information once it was released. Problem, Troels Lund Poulsen claims not to have been informed of these incidents. Since then, the sentence has fallen: the Liberal minister declared daily center-right Berlingske that General Flemming Lentfer no longer had his “confidence”, following “a global evaluation” of his action.

“A worn-out military device”

The dismissal comes at a time when Denmark is trying to unite all its forces against the Russian enemy following the invasion of Ukraine. Note that Copenhagen, one of kyiv’s most loyal allies, concluded a ten-year security agreement with the country at war at the end of February. It is also the fourth largest donor of military aid to Ukraine, according to the Germany-based Kiel Institute for the World Economy. “The threat is not only realistic, but also terrifying […] It cannot be compared to any of the threats we have faced in recent times,” the media wrote. Olfi. However, journalist John Dalby sounds the alarm about national capabilities: “Here in Denmark, we find ourselves today with a worn-out military apparatus that has been reduced and reduced for more than twenty years to the point of being on the point of no longer being usable.”

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While the kingdom announced, on March 13, 2024, to increase its defense spending by 5.43 billion euros over the next five, journalists and public opinion are wondering whether they will be well spent. “The threat has been heard and significant funds should be added. The question is: do we have the right structure to convert these financial resources into military capabilities?” Olfi.

A mess of failures

The day before these revelations, on April 4, navigation in a strait separating two large Danish islands was interrupted for several hours due to the risk of launching a missile from a navy frigate. The failure occurred during a missile test on board the frigate “Niels Juel”, which was in the port of Korsør.

“The problem arose as part of a mandatory test where the launcher was activated” and could not be deactivated for several hours, the Danish Defense Command explained in a press release. As long as the propellant was not deactivated, there was “a risk that the missile would be fired and fly a few kilometers away”, added the Danish Navy, specifying however that there was no threat that the missile would explodes.

So what does the future hold for Danish Defense? The Scandinavian country, one of the founders of NATO, had already announced last year to triple its military spending over ten years. Denmark will also extend military service, from four to eleven months and will now be open to women. Copenhagen wants to become a military giant, but it still needs to have the capabilities.