Frigate “Hessen” returns from the Red Sea

After almost two months in the Red Sea, the German frigate “Hessen” returns to Wilhelmshaven. A replacement will have to wait for the time being.

The frigate “Hessen” has ended its combat mission to protect merchant ships against Huthi attacks in the Red Sea as planned. The ship has already left the area of operation, the Bundeswehr announced. [ds_preview]

With around 240 men and women on board, the frigate was part of the EU mission “Aspides” in the Red Sea for several weeks. The crew repeatedly fended off drones and other missiles that had been shot down by the Huthi, who operate from Yemen and are allied with Iran. It was the first combat mission of this kind for the German Navy.

The “Hessen” is expected back in Wilhelmshaven at the beginning of May. However, time will be given before another ship is dispatched. The frigate “Hamburg” does not set off for the crisis area until the beginning of August.

“Hessen” escorted 27 ships through the risk area

The frigate had been deployed in the Red Sea since 23 February to protect civilian shipping on the most important sea route from Asia to Europe. The Huthi want to use the attacks to force an end to the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, which is a reaction to the terrorist attack by the Islamist Hamas on 7 October.

According to the Ministry of Defense, a total of 27 merchant ships were escorted safely through the area of operation by the Hessians. In four cases, drones and missiles belonging to the Huthi were successfully engaged. In total, the frigate covered more than 6,000 nm in the area of operations.

The 143 m long air defence frigate “Hessen” is equipped with anti-aircraft missiles and was specially designed for escort protection and maritime surveillance. According to the Bundeswehr, the ship can monitor an airspace the size of the entire North Sea with its special radar. The weapon systems are capable of engaging targets at a distance of up to 160 km.

Operation Aspides was launched in mid-February following a decision by the foreign ministers of the 27 EU member states.

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