German auxiliary Alster

Alster (A 50) is an intelligence ship of the German Navy. She is the lead ship of the German Navy's Type 423. The vessel is named for the river Alster located in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein.

Hafen Kiel 2010 PD 016.JPG
Alster in Kiel, August 2009.
Name: Alster
Namesake: River Alster
Builder: Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, Flensburg
Laid down: 1987
Launched: 4 November 1988
Commissioned: 1988
Homeport: Eckernförde, Schleswig-Holstein
Status: In active service
General characteristics
Class and type: Oste-class fleet service ship
Displacement: 3,200 tonnes
Length: 83.5 m (274 ft)
Beam: 14.6 m (48 ft)
Draft: 4.2 m (14 ft)
Propulsion: 2 diesel engines, 3,300 kW (4,400 hp) each
Speed: 21 knots (39 km/h)
Range: More than 5,000 nautical miles (9,300 km)
Complement: 36 + up to 40 mission specialists
Sensors and
processing systems:
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
Electronic countermeasures
Armament: None


Alster is a reconnaissance ship, which was originally intended to gather data on Soviet ships. She has a wide array of modern electromagnetic, hydroacoustic, and electro-optic sensors for strategic intelligence gathering. Her sensitive antennas can identify radar locations monitor flights, and can also listen in on radio and phone conversations. She can be used as an advance warning unit. Her crew is a mixture of German Navy sailors and German Bundesnachrichtendienst (Federal Intelligence Agency) officers.

Service historyEdit

On 26 October 2006, Israeli planes flew over Alster while she was serving with the UNIFIL peacekeeping forces off the coast of Lebanon,[1] stirring an international incident.[2][3][4] German authorities declared that the planes had fired shots at the ship and evaded from the scene launching flares. The Israeli side, though denying that firing had occurred, acknowledged the incident and declared that no aggression was meant. Diplomatic activity resulted in a settlement, though none of the parties backed from its position.


  1. ^ Schult, Christoph; Szandar, Alexander (30 October 2006). "Israel versus Germany: Confrontation off Lebanon Leads to Questions". Der Spiegel online. Retrieved 1 October 2008.
  2. ^ Nicola, Stefan (30 October 2006). "Analysis: German UNIFIL mission under fire".
  3. ^ "Germany, Israel in overflight row". Aljazeera. 27 October 2006.
  4. ^ "Berlin Confirms Second Incident With Israeli Planes Off Coast Of Lebanon". ABC News. 30 October 2006.