US Navy shoots down more than a dozen drones, missiles in Red Sea

by Tommy Grant

The Navy destroyer Laboon and other U.S. assets shot down more than a dozen drones and missiles in the Red Sea on Tuesday — just days after the ship took down four unmanned aerial vehicles in the same waters.

The incident is the latest episode where U.S. warships in the Middle East have intercepted air drones and missiles that officials claim originated from Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen, amid heightened tensions in the region stemming from the Israel-Hamas war.

According to U.S. Central Command, U.S. assets including the Laboon and F/A-18 Super Hornets from the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group “shot down twelve one-way attack drones, three anti-ship ballistic missiles, and two land attack cruise missiles in the Southern Red Sea that were fired by the Houthis over a 10 hour period” on Tuesday.

“There was no damage to ships in the area or reported injuries,” CENTCOM said.

No other details were immediately available, and CENTCOM did not say whether the attack targeted the Laboon.

Navy destroyers Laboon, Carney and Mason, have all taken down drones and missiles in recent weeks, while also providing assistance to commercial vessels in the region.

For example, the Laboon shot down four drones, which “were inbound” to the destroyer, as it conducted a patrol in the Southern Red Sea on Saturday, and the Carney took down 14 attack drones in the Red Sea on Dec. 16.

U.S. Central Command said in a statement this month that the U.S. has “every reason to believe that these attacks, while launched by the Houthis in Yemen, are fully enabled by Iran.” As a result, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced on Dec. 18 the creation of a multinational task force to help protect civilian ships in the region.

The Laboon is part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower’s carrier strike group, which departed Norfolk, Virginia, in October for a scheduled deployment. The carrier transited the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf last month.

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