Russian navigation system reports on German submarines have lawmakers on alert

Cologne, Germany-Russia-developed navigation technology was reported on German Navy submarines, forcing lawmakers to investigate.

Their curiosity comes from a March 27 article by Tabloid Bild am Sonntag, who stated that German submarines are using Navi Sailor 4100 products as Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS). The manufacturer is Transas, a company with roots in St. Petersburg, Russia, whose branch was acquired by Wärtsilä in Finland in 2018.

The terminal of the Navi Sailor 4000 series, which is a kind of digital version of nautical charts, is standard equipment on many commercial vessels. Some Western governments have selected equipment for security forces in the past.

Bild am Sonntag reports that the relationship between the German Navy and Transas dates back to 2005. In this week’s Twitter survey, photos of the Transus Terminal on the German frigate Brandenburg were distributed as evidence that surface ships are also equipped with this technology.

A Navy spokesman told Defense News that although the details were categorized, potential security risks were recognized within the service.

There are many types of voyage and geopositional internal mechanics, especially submarineTry to avoid detection by enemies, for the benefit of surprise.

Western defense officials have previously acknowledged that navigation services could correspond to the Achilles heel of military operations. Familiar enemies can, for example, interfere with GPS signals or send incorrect position markers to trick troops.

According to a Bild am Sonntag report, the level of data encryption used by Transas equipment is below the level required for military equipment.

Jeremy Stors, a non-resident Navy analyst at Keele University in northern Germany, said the issue could be overstated. “We have to assume that what kind of system is installed on several German submarines is very consciously considered,” he told Defense News.

“I will be very careful with the assumption that German submarines are’navigating on Russian voyages’, as the report makes you believe,” he added.

Still, some lawmakers are wary enough to ask for an answer. Parliamentary members Marie-Agnes Struck Zimmermann and Tobias Lindner, respectively, are the main voices of the FDP and the Greens on defense topics, calling on the Parliamentary Defense Commission to discuss potential risks. ..

According to officials, Lindner’s office asked the Ministry of Defense about the issue in November 2020 and received a secretly classified answer.

A spokesman for Wärtsilä, owner of Transas in Finland, claimed that his company had nothing to do with Russia’s defense sector.

“Baltilla acquired Transus for its commercial marine business in 2018, but did not acquire a previous defense business with the same ownership but separate from its current marine business,” a spokesman said. I am writing by email. “I understand that the defense business was sold by a former owner around 2015 and had nothing to do with Wärtsilä.”

All Transus navigation systems owned and sold by Wärtsilä comply with industry standards, including cybersecurity, the spokesman added. “We cannot disclose customer or contract details or comment on cybersecurity requirements or protocols.”