US Navy Warships In Red Sea Targeted By Never Before Seen Ballistic Missiles

During a media briefing on Monday, Cmdr. Jeremy Robertson, the captain of the guided-missile destroyer USS Carney, said that never-before-seen ballistic missiles targeted U.S. Navy warships in the Red Sea.

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The commanding officer of an American destroyer that has shot down deadly ballistic missiles claims that US Navy warships operating in the Red Sea have been intercepting them because they are “way faster” than anything else.

Before the Houthis began launching anti-ship ballistic missiles into vital Middle Eastern waterways late last year as part of their continuous attacks on international commerce lines, no force had previously seen these deadly weapons in action.

Numerous anti-ship ballistic missiles have since been fired into the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden by the rebels supported by Iran. Although some of the missiles have impacted commercial vessels, US warships in the area have repeatedly intercepted these missiles. In March, there was an attack that claimed civilian lives.

During a media briefing on Monday, Cmdr. Jeremy Robertson, the captain of the guided-missile destroyer USS Carney, informed reporters that an anti-ship ballistic missile “is just way faster than anything else.” The missiles are a challenge, he acknowledged, but “we have certain capabilities to be able to detect stuff like that.”

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US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Carney in the Suez Canal on Oct. 18, 2023.US Navy/MCS2 Aaron Lau

In the conflict that started in October 2023, the US cruiser Carney was the first in the area to intercept Houthi threats. During its months-long mission, the destroyer engaged in dozens of engagements, destroying drones, anti-ship ballistic missiles, and land-attack cruise missiles. It also conducted many attacks against the rebels operating inside Yemen.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank conducted an investigation and found that the Houthis had a substantial stockpile of anti-ship ballistic missiles.

While some of the missiles are entirely Iranian-made, others only use Tehran-sourced components. Ballistic missiles often travel quicker than cruise missiles, yet US Central Command has not identified the precise missiles utilized in any of the Houthi attacks.

The anti-ship ballistic missile “threat is very challenging—it’s very dynamic, and it’s very fast,” Robertson said. “These are certainly very dangerous areas, and every interaction is completely different from one another.”

Robertson stated that his sailors have to work very fast to combat these missiles. The lengthy process of identifying a threat, verifying that it is real, arranging the trajectory, and initiating contact might take “anywhere from nine to 20 seconds,” according to him.

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US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Carney defeats a combination of Houthi missiles and drones in the Red Sea on October 19, 2023.US Navy/MCS2 Aaron Lau

Still, Carney was prepared for the threat. “Our systems are doing exactly what we’ve designed them to do,” Robertson stated. “We have training pipelines that build on this threat as well, and so we certainly do a lot of training to make sure the team is ready to handle that threat.”

Business Insider discussed the Houthi anti-ship ballistic missile threat with Navy officers onboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, an aircraft carrier, and USS Gravely, a destroyer, during a trip to the Red Sea earlier this year.

They also noted that their sailors were correctly learning and training to fight the dangers, and they applauded the battle equipment on their vessels for operating as planned.

Long before the Houthi crisis broke out, the US military was becoming increasingly concerned about anti-ship ballistic missiles as it looked across the Pacific at China and its expanding stockpile of powerful, long-range missiles.

Anti-ship capabilities would be essential in the event of a future maritime conflict between the United States and China.

Experts, including former Navy personnel, have previously told BI that China’s anti-ship missile capabilities are superior to those of the Houthi. Even so, the ongoing battles in the Middle East are giving the Navy crucial first-hand combat experience and knowledge about how to handle these hazardous weapons.

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The guided-missile destroyer USS Carney is seen in Souda Bay, Greece.Petty Officer 3rd Class Bill Dodge/US Navy via AP

Throughout its extensive deployment, the Carney has faced off against threats from missiles other than those fired by the Houthis.

Amid Tehran’s unprecedented aerial campaign against Israel last month, the warship utilized its SM-3 interceptors for the first time to shoot down an Iranian medium-range ballistic missile after sailing out of the Middle East and into the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

On Sunday, the Carney made her long-awaited homecoming to Mayport, Florida, after more than seven months of deployment.

“I could not be more proud of what the Carney team has done since September,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti said aboard the warship earlier this month, welcoming the crew back to the US.

“Called to action on the very first day that you entered the US 5th Fleet, you conducted 51 engagements in six months,” Franchetti said. “The last time our Navy directly engaged the enemy to the degree that you have was way back in World War II.”

Recently, GreatGameIndia reported a military statement released by CENTCOM stating that U.S. warships were directly targeted in the largest Houthi Red Sea missile attack, with a total of 24 projectiles fired.

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