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German Media Cry Foul as Bundeswehr Ships Turn Out to Be Equipped With Russian Navigation Systems

© AFP 2023 / CHRISTIAN CHARISIUS / DPAShipyard workers and German soldiers attend the christening of the "U36", a new 212A class submarine for the German Marine at the ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems shipyard in Kiel, northern Germany. (File)
Shipyard workers and German soldiers attend the christening of the U36, a new 212A class submarine for the German Marine at the ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems shipyard in Kiel, northern Germany. (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.03.2021
The German government started buying navigation systems from a Russian company while German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was in office, the report says.

Some German military submarines are equipped with navigation systems which were developed by a Russian manufacturer, Bild am Sonntag reported.

The outlet also claims that data encryption on those systems does not fit German military standards.

“Of course we are concerned that our data could be intercepted, by foreign intelligence, for example,” the outlet quoted an anonymous Navy officer as saying.

In 2005, approximately a hundred navy vessels were equipped with navigation systems developed by the Russian firm Transas.

Later, the German government decided to equip modern submarines with “Navi Sailor 4100” navigation systems, in particular, the U-35 and U-36 have those systems, the outlet says.

The Transas website doesn’t have such a product listed, but it offers “Navi-Sailor 4000”, which, as the company states, conforms to the latest standards of the International Maritime Organisation, International Hydrographic Organisation, as well as computational capability standards and resolutions of the International Electrotechnical Commission.

According to the company, its on-board equipment is in use by more than 13,000 vessels in 100 countries, and its vessel traffic control systems are working at 100 ports in 55 countries.

Transas was founded in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) in 1990 and was a pioneer in Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) development as well as maritime training systems. The company today has 35% of the world’s ECDIS market and 45% of the maritime training systems market.

In 2018, Transas was acquired by Finnish company Wärtsilä, which specialises in manufacturing and servicing power sources and other equipment in the marine and energy markets.

According to Bild am Sonntag, the armaments division remained “in Russian hands” and former Transas engineers are now developing combat drones for the Russian military.

As a result of corporate restructuring, a JSC Kronshtadt Group was separated from Transas and acquired by Russia-based Sistema Joint Stock Financial Corporation in 2015.

The 2015 Sistema JSFC press release says that “Kronshtadt possesses a number of core technological competencies and unique intellectual potential in mathematical modelling and the development of advanced information systems, the development and manufacturing commercial UAV systems, advanced integrated simulators and visualisation systems, and on-board and ground-based radioelectronic navigation.”

Transas is a global market leader in ship & fleet operations solutions that has 22 regional offices worldwide and a distribution network that includes 120 countries. According to Wärtsilä, the company has approximately 1,000 staff who are working together with the the Wärtsilä team.

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