In coordination with US warships, the Royal Navy’s HMS Diamond successfully repelled the largest assault attempted by the Houthi rebels in the Red Sea.
UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps announced the incident on Wednesday, January 10. He revealed that the Type 45 destroyer, HMS Diamond, employed its Sea Viper missiles and armaments to intercept and destroy ‘numerous assault drones.’
There were no casualties or harm to the ship or its crew, who are currently stationed in the region as part of a global coalition to safeguard maritime traffic.
According to Mr Shapps’ statement, ‘Overnight, HMS Diamond, along with US warships, successfully repelled the largest attack from the Iranian-backed Houthis in the Red Sea to date.”
He added, ‘Deploying Sea Viper missiles and guns, Diamond destroyed multiple attack drones heading for her and commercial shipping in the area, with no injuries or damage sustained to Diamond or her crew.’
‘The UK, alongside allies, have previously made clear that these illegal attacks are completely unacceptable and if continued, the Houthis will bear the consequences. ‘We will take the action needed to protect innocent lives and the global economy.’
The US Central Command detailed the scale of the assault, reporting the interception of 18 kamikaze drones, two anti-ship cruise missiles, and one anti-ship ballistic missile.
These were neutralized by F/A-18 fighter jets from the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, alongside destroyers USS Gravely, USS Laboon, USS Mason, and HMS Diamond.
Describing the assault as ‘complex,’ the command acknowledged it originated from Houthi-controlled regions in Yemen, targeting the southern Red Sea’s international shipping lanes crowded with merchant vessels.
No injuries or damage were reported, marking this the 26th Houthi attack on Red Sea shipping lanes since November 19
This incident marks the second HMS Diamond has countered attacks in the Red Sea, which, according to the UK Government, ‘are a direct threat to the freedom of navigation that serves as the bedrock of global trade in one of the world’s most critical waterways.’
Previously, in December, the destroyer employed its Sea Viper missile system to intercept a suspected assault drone targeting commercial vessels.
Notably, this was the first instance since the Gulf War in 1991 that the Royal Navy had engaged and destroyed a hostile aerial target.