US Air Force base suffers missile scare after alert triggered loudspeaker warning of ‘aerial attack’

One person at base says alarm ‘made my heart skip a beat for a second’

James Crump
Tuesday 15 December 2020 18:04
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In this 30 July 2014 file photo US and German flags fly outside the Ramstein Air Base, Germany
In this 30 July 2014 file photo US and German flags fly outside the Ramstein Air Base, Germany

An American military base in Germany suffered a missile scare, after an alert triggered a warning of an “aerial attack”.

The warning, which occurred at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Saturday, resulted in a few minutes of uncertainty among staff, before the all-clear was sounded, according to CNN.

The alarm was triggered when US intelligence satellites detected that a submerged Russian submarine had test fired four intercontinental missiles close to Western Russia.

Seconds after the launch occurred, the alarms were sounded at the base in Germany, as staff received computerised notifications and a loudspeaker warned people to “seek cover.”

One person commented on the air base’s Facebook page that the alarm “made my heart skip a beat for a second,” while another replied: “me too I ran into the (base exchange) and started yelling at folks to take cover,” according to Stars and Stripes.

The US Air Force Europe-Army Africa released a statement on Monday that confirmed that the base “received an alert via a warning notification system of a real-world missile launch.”

The statement continued: “The control centre followed proper procedures and acted in a timely manner to provide rapid and accurate notifications to all required personnel. No US aircraft or pilots were scrambled.”

The air force added: “The missile launch was determined to be part of a regional training exercise and within minutes the control centre again followed proper procedures and provided updated notifications. We consistently and routinely monitor for any threats to our forces and our allies.”

Although the Russian missile launch was not mentioned in the statement, multiple defence officials confirmed to CNN that it took place on Saturday.

One official said that Russia had issued a “notice to airmen”, which warned people to stay out of the area of the launch for a period of days.

Following the incident, the US military at the Ramstein base released a statement on its Facebook page for those in the nearby military community.

“Today, the Ramstein Air Base Command Post was notified via an alert notification system of a real-world missile launch in the European theatre. The Command Post followed proper procedure and provided timely and accurate notifications to personnel in the Kaiserslautern Military Community.

“The missile launch was then assessed to be part of a training exercise and not a threat to the KMC area. The situation is all clear.”

A similar false alarm alert created headlines in 2018, when officials accidentally sent out a warning to Hawaii residents that a missile was heading towards the island, before correcting the error around 40 minutes later.

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