A U.S. Air Force base in Germany recently suffered a potential incoming missile scare after an alert about a launch in the European theater prompted loudspeaker warnings of an “aerial attack” and to “seek cover” — before it was realized to be a training exercise, officials and reports say.
The exact military event that triggered the alert to be sent to Ramstein Air Base in southwest Germany on Saturday remains unclear, but Russia’s Defense Ministry did announce that one of its nuclear submarines successfully test fired four intercontinental ballistic missiles that same day.
Those dummy warheads were launched from the Pacific and hit targets in northwestern Russia, the Associated Press reported, citing a statement from Moscow.
“Today, the Ramstein Air Base Command Post was notified via an alert notification system of a real-world missile launch in the European theater,” the base said in a statement posted to Facebook. “The Command Post followed proper procedure and provided timely and accurate notifications to personnel in the Kaiserslautern Military Community.”
But the launch was “then assessed to be part of a training exercise and not a threat to the KMC area,” the base added, noting that “the situation is all clear.”
“We’d like to thank our Command Post members for their quick response to ensure our people stay informed so they can take the proper safety precautions,” its statement concluded.
While there was uncertainty about the nature of the launch, sirens at the base blared the warning “aerial attack, aerial attack, seek cover, seek cover,” Stars and Stripes reports.
A similar false alarm in Hawaii made headlines in 2018 when officials mistakenly issued an alert to the public that a missile was heading toward the islands before correcting the error 38 minutes later.