Danish Defense Chief Removed After Warship Malfunction in Red Sea

April 4, 2024 5:42 PM - Updated: April 4, 2024 10:37 PM
The frigate Iver Huitfeldt returns to Korsør. Danish Armed Forces Photo

The top Danish defense officer was removed from office following the return of a Royal Danish Navy guided-missile frigate after its weapon systems malfunctioned in the Red Sea.

The Danish government removed Gen. Fleming Lentfer Wednesday due to his failure to report that Iver Huitfeldt’s rader and missile systems went offline for a half-hour-long during a Houthi drone attack, according to Financial Times.

As a result, Iver Huitfeldt, which returned home to Naval Station Korsør Thursday, was recalled from its mission participating in U.S.-led Prosperity Guardian mission to protect merchant traffic in the Red Sea earlier than expected.

During its time in the Red Sea, the Danish vessel shot down four Houthi drones, according to the Danish defense ministry. The ship set sail for the Middle East on January 29. The Danish defense ministry said in its statement that the April 4 return date was planned from the beginning.

Financial Times reported that Denmark’s defense minister learned that Lentfer did not disclose the malfunction through specialist military outlet Olfi.

“I have lost trust in the chief of defense,” Defence Minister Troels Lund Poulsen told Financial Times. “We are facing a historic and necessary strengthening of Denmark’s defense forces. This places great demands on our organization and on the military advice at a political level.”

According to the Olfi report, Sune Lund, captain of the frigate, detailed in a confidential report that the 175-person crew was put in danger after the air defense system failed for 30 minutes during a drone attack.

Iver Huitfeldt shot down the drones on March 9, according to a Danish defense ministry release. During that time, the Houthis launched at least 15 drones at U.S., Danish and coalition forces, according to the release. U.S. Central Command reported at least 28 drones fired by the Houthis, according to USNI News’ timeline of Red Sea activity.

The Danish defense ministry released a video of the crew shooting down the drones in conjunction with the ship’s return home.

The Danish Royal Navy experienced another problem with a missile system on a warship on Thursday, when a missile launcher malfunctioned on one of its vessels, according to a release from the Danish defense ministry.

The Danish government warned ships from sailing through the Great Belt Strait, a vital passageway to the Baltic Sea, after the missile launcher on the ship activated during a mandatory but could not be deactivated, according to a press release from the Danish defense ministry. As a result, the Danish government closed the waterways and airspace around the Great Belt Strait.

The waterways are now open, according to a second release.

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
Follow @hmongilio

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