German Frigate to join EU mission in the Red Sea

Caption: The frigate "Sachsen", sister ship of the "Hessen", The "Sachsen" fires an anti-aircraft missile

The frigate “Hessen” is due to set sail for the Red Sea as early as next week. The EU has decided on a military mission called “Aspides”.

The planned EU naval mission had previously cleared a major hurdle at an informal meeting of defense ministers in Brussels. “Our aim is to launch the operation by February 19 at the latest,” said the responsible EU Commissioner Josep Borrell after the meeting. [ds_preview]

Seven EU countries are therefore prepared to provide ships or aircraft for the mission. Belgium has agreed to send the frigate “Louise Marie”. The Dutch frigate “HNLMS Tromp” will be associated with the EU mission on its world tour. The frigate “Hydra” from Greece is to join the mission. Rome has also promised the participation of a unit. The Danish frigate “Iver Huitfeldt”, on the other hand, intends to join the US-led operation “Prosperity Guardian” from mid-February.

“Hessen” equipped for air defense

Germany has earmarked the frigate “Hessen” for the start of “Aspides”. She only returned to Wilhelmshaven a few days ago from a NATO deployment in the North Atlantic and is due to leave again next Thursday.

According to our information, the parliamentary debate is scheduled for the week of February 19-23. A military deployment requires a mandate from the Bundestag. However, the “Hessen” should be on the ground as soon as possible when this happens.

According to reports, the question of the operation headquarters (OHQ) has not yet been finalized. Greece is offering its Joint Force Command South Center based in Larissa to the ring. The EU also has five other national EU command centers: in Germany (Ulm), France (Paris), Italy (Rome), Spain (Rota) and – occasionally – in Poland (Krakow).

“Hessen” to protect ships together with other EU units

However, a Greek leadership with a French deputy could emerge. This would then leave the command at sea to be decided. The tried and tested pattern is a force command on board a ship that rotates between the participating nations.

This constellation avoids the risk of the Houthis turning against European partners among the Arab nations, which might have been the case with a headquarters in Abu Dhabi or Djibouti. There is agreement on the purely defensive nature of Aspides. Borrell: “Under no circumstances will there be combat operations on Yemeni soil.” Most recently, US and British units flew massive attacks on Huthi positions.

The final decision at EU level is to be taken at the Foreign Affairs Council, the formal meeting of foreign ministers, on February 19. (HUM)

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