Tag Archives: USS Mason (DDG-87)

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”

The reports of Swift’s death have been greatly exaggerated

Over the weekend news and video surfaced that the former HSV Swift, which had been leased to MSC for 10 years from 2003-2013 and is currently owned by Emirates-based UAE Marine Dredging Company but was chartered by the United Arab Emirates military for coastal transport, was sunk after a missile attack by Houthis rebels.

Well, it turns out that the ship was able to make it to port and all of her 24 (mostly Indian and Ukrainian) civilian mariners are safe. But she is likely headed for the scrappers after being hellah banged up as reported by The Drive.

Photo credit: Emirates News Agency

Photo credit: Emirates News Agency

Photo credit: Emirates News Agency

Photo credit: Emirates News Agency

Photo credit: Emirates News Agency

Photo credit: Emirates News Agency

Reports now indicate the weapons used could have been Chinese-built C-802 anti-ship missiles (NATO reporting name CSS-N-8 Saccade) or guided anti-tank weapons. I can see that. After all, one has to remember what happened to the aluminum-superstructure of the Argentine corvette ARA Guerrico at the hands of a force of Royal Marines on South Georgia who had a few simple 84mm rockets and small arms back in 1982.

Meanwhile, three US Navy warships have been dispatched to the coast of Yemen following the Swift incident. The Burke-class guided missile destroyers USS Nitze (DDG-94), USS Mason (DDG-87) and the MSC-manned laser-slinging afloat forward staging base USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) are now stationed near Bab Al Mandeb strait where the missile attack took place.

In other news, the Saudis are holding a big naval drill, Gulf Shield 1, and Iran is suggesting the kingdom’s deputy crown prince is so “impatient” he may kill his own father to take the throne. Oh, Iran…