Scandal in Germany for equipping its submarines with a Russian navigation system

The publication in the German press that the two most modern submarines of the German Navy and many other naval units are equipped with an electronic navigation system from the Russian company Transas has led to controversy in Germany both politically and publicly.

The news was published on March 27 by the German tabloid Bild am Sonntag. The media claim that two of the German Navy or German Navy submarines use the Transas Navi Sailor 4100’s information and display system of electronic charts or ECDIS (Electronic Chards Display and Information Systems). Transas is a company founded in Saint Petersburg (Russia) in 1990 and although it was bought by the Finnish company Wrtsil in 2018, the defense department remained in Russian hands.

The reaction in public opinion was followed by the request for an official investigation by the opposition in the Bundestag. According to the picture, the ECDIS Navi-Sailor 4100 was installed in at least 100 marine units in 2005 after the system was acquired in the early years of this century. At that time, Germany was headed by Chancellor Gerhard Schrder, who maintained great harmony with Putin and, as a personal initiative, approved the construction of a gas pipeline with the Russian company Gazprom between the two countries. The Russian-German consortium Nord Stream AG emerged from the initiative, and Schrder is now chairing it under strong criticism of the revolving door, especially after the 2014 Ukraine crisis.

Among the units of the German Navy equipped with the Russian system are the last two submarines of the six type 212 submarines, in particular the U-35 and the U-36, which were released in March 2015 and October 2016 respectively after construction were delivered in Kiel (Northern Germany) in the shipyards of the German company TKMS.

A spokesman for the German Navy said in response that the potential for security risks within the service was recognized, although the details are classified. The inner workings of navigation and geolocation is often a closely guarded secret in naval units, especially submarines, in order to avoid detection by potential adversaries and to take advantage of surprise. (Julio Maz Sanz).

Photo: One of the Type 212 submarines, especially the seeded submarine U-31. (Photo German Navy)

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