MILAN — The Danish government has fired the chief of defense after he reportedly failed to disclose several malfunctions aboard the frigate Iver Huitfeldt during its deployment to the Red Sea.

“With the challenges we are facing, a new chief of defense is needed,” Defence Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said during a press briefing on April 3, according to local media.

The minister was referring to the emergence of claims, initially made by the Danish news website Olfi, regarding critical weapon and mission systems issues on the frigate, that appear to have been unreported and ignored for a significant period of time.

The minister added that with the dismissal of the Flemming Lentfer, Maj. Gen. Michael Wiggers Hyldgaard will take over the role for the time being. The officer currently leads the country’s special operations command.

Lund Poulsen said he was unaware of the ship’s defects until these reports were published.

The frigate was initially scheduled for deployment to the Red Sea as part of the U.S.-led Operation Prosperity Guardian until mid-April. However, Denmark’s Defence Ministry announced March 26 that the ship was already sailing back home.

Among the reported faulty equipment was the ship’s active phased array radar, which is manufactured by Thales Nederland.

“Thales has been informed about FMI’s [the Danish Ministry of Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation’s] preliminary investigation of available data from Iver Huitfeldt’s systems from the incident in question during a combat situation in the Red Sea,” the defense company said, according to Danish broadcaster DR. “[It] does not indicate a problem related to the APAR radar.”

Danish defense leaders also have another problem on their hands following an April 4 incident aboard the frigate Niels Juel, a sister ship of the Iver Huitfeldt.

Denmark currently has three Iver Huitfeldt-class and two Absalon-class frigates in service. Each is subject to docking every five years. The area around the Korsør naval base, where the Niels Juel was docked, was closed to air and marine traffic after the ship was unable to deactivate the booster of a Harpoon missile during what the ministry described as a “mandatory test.”

While the warhead was unaffected, officials feared a scenario in which the missile would accidently launch into a target area around 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) above the water level in a southern direction from the frigate’s location.

As of Thursday afternoon, authorities were still investigating the situation.

Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. She covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in reporting on the aviation sector. She is based in Milan, Italy.

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