Strait of Bab el-Mandeb warming up as the Navy strikes back
In the latest escalation in the saga of ongoing asymmetric warfare by proxy in the Middle East region that has been on a low simmer since 1979 between the U.S. and Iran with brief periods of boiling, the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG-87) let slip the dogs of war in the form of two Standard Missile-2s (SM-2s) and a single Enhanced Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM)– aimed at a pair of suspected cruise missiles fired from the Yemini shore.
Mason, deployed as part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, along with another destroyer and the hybrid afloat base USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) have been in international waters near the strait of Bab el-Mandeb this week following the sucker punch of the unarmed and civilian-manned HSV Swift last weekend.
As reported by USNI News, it would be the first time that SM-2 was used against an enemy missile and the first time ESSM has been used in warfare at all.
Then came a second report of a failed launch against Mason Tuesday in which the destroyer used soft-kill defensive countermeasures to defeat the incoming vampire(s).
Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said the U.S. “will take action accordingly,” in response to the findings of the ongoing investigation.
In the meantime…
The following is a statement released today by Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook on U.S. military strikes against radar sites in Yemen:
“Early this morning local time, the U.S. military struck three radar sites in Houthi-controlled territory on Yemen’s Red Sea coast. Initial assessments show the sites were destroyed. The strikes — authorized by President Obama at the recommendation of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph Dunford — targeted radar sites involved in the recent missile launches threatening USS Mason and other vessels operating in international waters in the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandeb. These limited self-defense strikes were conducted to protect our personnel, our ships, and our freedom of navigation in this important maritime passageway. The United States will respond to any further threat to our ships and commercial traffic, as appropriate, and will continue to maintain our freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandeb, and elsewhere around the world.”
The guided missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG 94) launches a strike against three coastal radar sites in Houthi-controlled territory on Yemen’s Red Sea coast. Due to hostile acts, continuing and imminent threat of force, and multiple threats to vessels in the Bab-al Mandeb Strait, including U.S. naval vessels, Nitze struck the sites, which were used to attack U.S. ships operating in international waters, threatening freedom of navigation. Nitze is deployed to the 5th Fleet area of operations to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts:
The Pentagon Press Brief on the strike is majestic craw-fishing to avoid saying “Iran”