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Denmark Closes Airspace and Key Shipping Lane Following Missile Malfunction


Apr 4, 2024

Denmark was forced to close part of its air space and one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes due to the risk of “falling missile fragments” following a failed test. The National Maritime Authority warned ships not to sail through the Great Belt strait, the main maritime access to the Baltic Sea after the test on a navy vessel close to the Danish coast.

The problem occurred during a mandatory test where the missile launcher is activated and cannot be deactivated. Until the missile launcher is deactivated, there is a risk that the missile can fire and fly a few kilometres away. A naval exercise was ongoing in the area, a navigational warning showed.

The warning covered an area some 5-7 kilometres of the Great Belt bridge, which crosses the strait. The bridge remained open to traffic, its operator said. The Danish military said the missile was launched from the frigate Niels Juel, which has previously taken part in Nato exercises.

In a statement, the military said the missile failure had been caused by a “technical” problem and that specialists had been deployed to carry out an investigation. However, until the booster is disabled there is a risk that the missile could launch and fly several kilometers away. The incident happened during a test of a Harpoon missile, with the military saying the failure affected only the booster, meaning there was no danger of the missile exploding.

The police were also informed about the incident and ships were asked to wait while the problem was resolved. For free real time breaking news alerts sent straight to your inbox, sign up to our breaking news emails. Stay tuned for further updates on this breaking news story.

By editor

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