May 25, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Bundesfer: "Drones spy on our bases and no one does anything"

Germany’s armed forces are in turmoil over mysterious drone flights whose operators Berlin cannot identify.

The matter may seem simple, but it is not, and it has caused great concern in Germany’s coalition government, which is suffering defeat in the polls. Military bases across Germany are reportedly being spied on by mysterious drones, and the Bundeswehr has no idea who is flying them.

“Suspicious drones are flying over military training grounds and Bundeswehr barracks every week. Have the troops taken protective measures? Nothing has been reported yet,” German media reported on Sunday (7/1/2024), referring to flights of small quadcopter drones costing 1,000 euros each.

The problem, which military base commanders in Germany have been aware of since at least October 2022, has been identified in particular in areas where Bundeswehr troops train Ukrainian soldiers. The former head of the Bundeswehr’s territorial command, Carsten Breuer, has ordered military police units to use portable HP 47 jammers to combat mysterious drones, but their effectiveness has been “insufficiently studied”, media reports.

“So far, not a single drone or its operator has been captured,” – said Nils Hilmer, Deputy Minister of Defense of Germany.

Among the areas where UAVs have been spotted is the Klitz military training area in the former East Germany, where The Bundeswehr is training Ukrainian crews to operate Leopard 1 main battle tanks. Part of the problem, Hilmer said, is dividing responsibility for anti-drone defense among ministries and determining what anti-drone systems and how quickly Germany’s armed forces can purchase.

In November 2023, the Bundeswehr created a special anti-drone unit under the command of a general to deal with this problem, but two months later “there are still no tangible results”media reports. “There is no drone strategy. We urgently need one.”– said the deputy from “green” Sebastian Schafer. “One thing is clear: our military needs modern jammers. We need results in the coming months,” – said Hilmer. “We must not allow Russia to spy on military training sites with drones while there is complete confusion.” said Andreas Schwarz, a member of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s SPD, about the growing problem.

In November 2023, a drone operator was arrested in Saxony-Anhalt in the east of the country for flying it near a Bundeswehr base where Ukrainian officers were stationed, according to the German news agency Tagesspiegel. A police investigation revealed that the drone operator was a documentary filmmaker, not a spy.

Under German law, drones are prohibited from flying within 100 meters of any of the approximately 1,500 bases used by the Bundeswehr. However, the military is having trouble detecting the drones as Germany continues to supply Ukraine with billions of euros worth of military equipment.

Berlin has already provided 17.1 billion euros in aid to Kyiv and plans to increase funding in 2024, despite the recent financial crisis and worsening economic prospects.

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