A navigation system of Russian origin called Navi-Sailor 4100 has been installed on at least 100 vessels operated by Germany’s military, including submarines, since 2005.
This “scandal” was reported by mass-market newspaper Sunday Bild.
Die Bundeswehr muss sicherstellen, dass die Navigationssoftware der Marine kein Sicherheitsleck darstellt. Das Ministerium muss zügig erklären, wieso keine Software eines Herstellers aus Nato-Staaten verwendet wird. @BILDamSONNTAG @mkiewel https://t.co/orGBtrLXJA
— Dr. Tobias Lindner (@tobiaslindner) March 28, 2021
The report adds that in the summer of 2020, the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution warned that maritime navigation systems would open up “attack vectors for espionage and sabotage by foreign states”.
“Transas was founded in St. Petersburg in 1990 and is active in both the civil and military sectors: Transas equipped the Russian fleet with combat simulators and received an award from the Chief of the Russian General Staff, General Nikolai Makarov.In 2018 the company was bought by the Finnish company Wartsila, but the armaments division remained in Russian hands.
Former Transas engineers are now developing combat drones for the Russian military. Because of its close ties to the Russian security apparatus, this part of Transas is in the focus of Western intelligence services, according to security experts.”
It should be noted that despite attempting to seek a massive conspiracy, the company that holds Transas is owned by Wartsila, a Finnish company.
Wartsila’s website says the Transas subsidiary provides 35% of electronic chart systems used by world shipping and ports, and 45% of world simulation equipment, typically used for training.
“Marine onboard equipment & data services are used on more than 13,000 commercial vessels and patrol boats of naval and Coast Guard fleets from over 100 nations,” according to Wartsila.
It should also be added that the Bild reported that if Russia were to invade, and it has allegedly practiced it, since during maritime exercises it comes near German waters, then Berlin is doomed, in a row of heavy fearmongering.
In the event of a cyber-attack, navigation data could be tapped and manipulated, “in the worst case up to the complete loss of functionality” of the ship.
Used widely on civilian ships, the Navi-Sailor system was fitted, during the chancellorship of the Social Democrat Gerhard Schröder, Bild reports.
He is currently the chairman of the board of directors of the Russian company Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline project.
Subsequent governments, Bild reports, also decided to install the navigation system on two German submarines: the U35 and U36, launched in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
These German-built 212A-class submarines, billed as highly maneuverable and quiet and elusive for long periods under water, use a mix of hydrogen cell, diesel and battery propulsion and are fitted with six torpedo tubes.
In the above Twitter post, Tobias Lindner, the top Bundestag representative for the opposition Greens on the German parliament’s defense committee, voiced alarm following Bild’s report.
“The Bundeswehr must ensure that the navy’s navigation software does not represent a security leak. The ministry must quickly explain why software from a manufacturer in NATO countries is not being used,” Lindner said.
Separately, on March 25th, Norway blocked the sale of Rolls-Royce’s Norwegian offshoot, Bergen Engines, to Russia’s TMH Group.
Such engines and technology would have been of “great military importance to Russia” but would “clearly be contrary to the best interests of the Norwegian and allied security policy,” according to the government.
Norwegian Public Security Minister Monica Maeland described the measure as “absolutely necessary,” saying security cooperation with Russia did not exist.
TMH Group is a privately owned company headquartered in Russia that makes locomotives and rail equipment. As it appears, such concerns are largely overestimated.