On January 30, the USS Gravely shot down an anti-ship cruise missile launched by Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists in Yemen. The maneuver was followed by a series of U.S. military actions to disable imminent threats, including a self-defense strike against Houthi unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and a ground control station. The multitude of strikes marks one of the most conflict-ridden 24 hours in the Red Sea since Houthi forces began targeting ships.
According to press releases by CENTCOM, shortly after USS Gravely engaged with the anti-ship cruise missile, forces detected and destroyed a Houthi surface-to-air missile prepared to launch in Yemen. At 8:30 p.m. Sanaa time, USS Carney shot down a single anti-ship ballistic missile launched into the Gulf of Aden by Houthi militants.
Approximately 40 minutes later, USS Carney shot down three UAVs. Following this, at around 1:30 a.m. Sanaa time, U.S. Central Command forces identified a ground control station and 10 Houthi one-way UAVs. After identifying the ground control station, U.S. forces determined they presented an imminent threat to military and civilian ships in the region. Strikes to destroy both the control station and the UAVs were carried out with no injuries reported.
Ongoing conflict in the Red Sea, an important global shipping route, has caused increasing concern due to potential economic effects. While Houthi terrorists have the stated mission of attacking Israeli-owned ships, many attacks have affected ships with no connection to Israel.
Houthi attacks have limited transport through the Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and is estimated to facilitate transportation of up to 15 percent of global trade. President Joe Biden’s administration, U.K. forces, and coalition forces have combined efforts in an attempt to deter Houthi strikes and maintain global trade routes.