DrThe German frigate Hessen inadvertently fired on an allied nation's drone during its operation in the Red Sea. Defense Ministry spokesman Michael Stempfel reported on Wednesday that the German warship had already spotted a drone in the area of operations on Monday that could not initially be assigned to any of the allied nations. Hess then tried to shoot down this drone, but was unsuccessful. He added: „The case was solved because it was not an enemy drone, which did not become clear until later.”
Stempfle did not say which country this drone was later assigned to. However, he explicitly confirmed that before the bombing, Hesse requested all allied countries, and no country announced the presence of its own drone in the area of operations. Only later did it emerge that it was an unreported drone. It is known that there are American combat drones in the region that are not related to the operation in the Red Sea.
How the drone was shot down is now being investigated. According to the industry blog „augengeradeaus.net”, it is an American MQ-9 drone, which is also often referred to as the Reaper. According to available information, it was traveling in airspace without operating the identification friend-foe (IFF) transceiver and without knowledge of the operations centers of warships of other states.
A short while ago, it was learned that the frigate “Hessen”, which was used to protect commercial ships, repelled an attack by the Houthi militias operating from Yemen for the first time on Tuesday evening and shot down two drones. According to X's account „The German Army in Action”, there were two drones. Consequently, there were no casualties or property damage on board the ship.
According to the industry blog, these drones were shot down with the frigate's 76mm gun and a RAM (airframe missile system). This indicates that the drones have already gotten relatively close to the naval vessel, because these weapons are designed for so-called close range.
Pistorius: The early deployment of the Hessen frigate was the right thing to do
Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) explained that the early deployment proved successful by shooting down two enemy drones on Tuesday evening. The first drone was initially spotted and intercepted around 8 p.m. 15 minutes later, a second missile „that was approaching the ship” was successfully intercepted, Pistorius said on Wednesday during a visit to troops in Oberwischtach in Bavaria. According to its mission, the frigate was patrolling the southern Red Sea in the area assigned to it at that time.
The minister confirmed that another incident had occurred the night before, “in which there was also shooting, but no one was injured,” he said. It was a reconnaissance drone. Hessen has contacted all interested parties. “In the end there was no shooting.”
„Hessen” has been participating in the European Union operation to protect commercial ships in the Red Sea since Friday. „Hessen” had previously departed from Wilhelmshaven towards the area of operations with the aim of being able to begin implementing the order immediately after the Bundestag's decision. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that the operation would contribute to stability in the region. The operation is considered the most dangerous naval mission in the history of the German Army.
The Iran-aligned militia wants to use attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea to force an end to the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, which comes in response to the terrorist attack launched by the Islamist Hamas movement on October 7.
The Houthi militia said last week that it wants to expand its attacks on commercial ships off the coast of the country. The group's leader, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, said in a televised speech that they are counting on escalation in response to the Israeli escalation in the Gaza Strip. So far, 48 ships have been attacked. He also announced the use of underwater weapons.
The sea route through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal is one of the most important trade routes in the world. Due to attacks by the Houthis, who are armed by Iran, major shipping companies are increasingly avoiding the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe – which is greatly affecting the global economy.