Tag Archives: Red Sea

Hauling wheat around Yemen will get you holed

“The assessment at the moment is it was almost certainly non-state Yemen based actors firing a land-based missile or rocket at the vessel,” Major Tom Mobbs, head of intelligence and security with the European Union’s counter-piracy mission EU Navfor, told Reuters.

Damage to the Turkish-flagged bulk carrier Ince Inebolu after last weeks missile attack.

The Turkish flagged Ince Inebolu bulk carrier was damaged by an explosion on May 10, some 70 miles off the Red Sea port of Salif where it was due to deliver a 50,000-tonne cargo of Russian wheat. Likely culprits are the Houthis, who last month hit a Saudi oil tanker was off Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah, suffering limited damage.

And of course, the Houthis have exchanged fire with both Gulf State and U.S. military vessels several times.

Sardines and the Houth

One of three Type 021 missile boats purchased by Yemen from China in 1995. Photo via Chinese internet

One of three Type 021 missile boats purchased by Yemen from China in 1995. Photo via Chinese internet

War Is Boring is reporting that the Houthi rebels in Yemen, which comprise some 20,000-strong mostly derp militiamen, has been taking pop-shots at passing shipping going as far back as last October with Chinese-made C.801 missiles salvaged from a trio of likewise Chinese-made Type 021 fast attack craft (based on the 1960s Soviet Osa-class) that defected to the Houth back in 2014.

As each Type 21 had up to four C.801s (NATO: CSS-N-4 Sardines), which in theory gave the Houthi a cool dozen anti-ship missiles. This means, barring resupply from countries that rhyme with “ShIran” they may be running low on things to sling at ships in their littoral larger than RPGs. In recent weeks, one has been fired (successfully) at HSV Swift, and as many as six in three attacks with much less luck at USS Mason.

The first attacks was reported on Oct. 8, 2015 — around a week after a combined force of Emirati, Bahraini and Qatari troops forced the Yemenis to withdraw to the port of Mocha, 40 kilometers north of the strategically important Bab Al Mandab Strait, which connects the Red Sea, and thus the Suez Canal, with the Indian Ocean.

According to official reports from the Yemeni capital Sana’a, which is now under Houthi control, this attack “destroyed” the Saudi navy tanker Yunbou. Two nights later, the pro-Houthi Yemenis struck again, this time reportedly targeting either the Saudi navy tanker Boraida or an Egyptian navy warship the Houthis identified as Al Mahrousa.

In truth, neither Boraida nor Yunbou was even damaged, while Al Mahrousa is a 150-year-old presidential yacht that has certainly never ventured anywhere near Yemen in years.

More here.

Strait of Bab el-Mandeb warming up as the Navy strikes back

ARABIAN SEA (Sept. 11, 2016) A Mk 38 M242 25mm Bushmaster chain gun fires during nighttime live fire gunnery exercises aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87). Mason, deployed as part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, is supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Janweb B. Lagazo)

ARABIAN SEA (Sept. 11, 2016) A Mk 38 M242 25mm Bushmaster chain gun fires during nighttime live fire gunnery exercises aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87). Mason, deployed as part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, is supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Janweb B. Lagazo)

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.

Praying Mantis Part Deux with a Yemeni focus?

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”

Dat bayonet, doe

You have to admit the PEQ-15, bayonet and mono-pod forward grip combo on an old-school M16 with a steel mag warms your heart

SOUTHWEST ASIA (Sept. 17, 2015) U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan Ripoyla moves to his next firing position during a bi-lateral training exercise. Ripoyla is a rifleman with India Company, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The 15th MEU, embarked aboard the ships of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group, is a forward-deployed, flexible sea-based Marine air-ground task force capable of engaging with regional partners and maintaining regional security. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jamean Berry/Released)

SOUTHWEST ASIA (Sept. 17, 2015) U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan Ripoyla moves to his next firing position during a bi-lateral training exercise. Ripoyla is a rifleman with India Company, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The 15th MEU, embarked aboard the ships of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group, is a forward-deployed, flexible sea-based Marine air-ground task force capable of engaging with regional partners and maintaining regional security. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jamean Berry/Released)