Report: Danish Frigate’s Weapons Malfunctioned During Houthi Drone Attack

Report Danish Frigate's Weapons Malfunctioned During Houthi Drone Attack - Merchant Navy Info - news

The Danish frigate’s Ivar Huitfeldt is on her way home early from her air-defence mission in the Red Sea. While in the theatre, the warship shot down four Houthi drones. According to Danish outlet Olfi, her commander was concerned about her ability to shoot down too many more. 

The paper obtained a message from the Huitfeldt commanding officer describing multiple shortcomings in its weapons systems. The Danish frigate’s air-defence missile system experienced a glitch during a hostile engagement on March 9. Apparently, it is because of a software issue in the interface between its fire-control radar and its combat management system. According to Dutch maritime outlet Marine Schepen, the crew switched to a backup radar. They worked around the problem, but their most capable top-end radar remained unusable for half an hour. 

“Our clear understanding is that the issue has been known for years without the necessary sense of urgency to resolve the problem,” the CO said in the message. 

Danish Frigate’s a close call in the Red Sea.

Ivar Huitfeldt also encountered apparent problems with ammunition quality. It successfully downed the drones with its 76mm deck gun, a common auto-feeding model used by navies worldwide. However, according to the CO, about half of the proximity-fused rounds exploded just after leaving the muzzle and never reached anywhere near the drones.

“All shells in standard combat equipment are more than 30 years old. They have been retrofitted with a ‘2005 proximity fuze’ which appears to be unsuitable for actual combat,” he wrote. 

Since the warship had to use far more of these shells to down the targets, the CO warned that the Huitfeldt risked running out of ammunition at an inopportune moment, potentially reducing the ship’s survivability. 

Ivar Huitfeldt was expected to remain in the Red Sea through mid-April, but by March 25, she had transited the Suez Canal and arrived at Souda Bay, Crete. After resupply and shore leave, Huitfeldt returned to Denmark, arriving earlier this week.

The frigate’s technical issues have become a political firestorm for Denmark’s government. According to DR, the defence minister, Troels Lund Poulsen, first learned of the problem when the media inquired about it on Monday night. He has relieved Chief of Defense Gen. Flemming Lentfer of command, effective Wednesday. 

Danish Navy insiders told DR that the crew of the Huitfeldt had had to borrow the 76mm guns for their warship from other frigates before departure and could not rule out that this may have increased the risk of a malfunction. 

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