USS Laboon shoots down Red Sea air drone in ‘self-defense’

by Tommy Grant

The Navy destroyer Laboon shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle in the Red Sea on Saturday that officials say was fired by Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen — the latest intercept in the region since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October.

Laboon took out the drone Saturday morning “in self-defense,” according to U.S. Central Command.

“There were no casualties or damage reported,” CENTCOM said in a statement Saturday.

The combatant command provided no further information on the encounter.

The incident comes after Laboon and F/A-18 Super Hornets from the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group shot down 12 one-way attack drones, three anti-ship ballistic missiles, and two land attack cruise missiles in December.

Navy destroyers including the Laboon, Carney and Mason have all taken down drones and missiles in recent weeks while also assisting commercial vessels in the region. Additionally, U.S. Navy helicopters shot and sank three Iranian-backed Houthi small boats last month.

CENTCOM said in a statement in December that the U.S. has “every reason to believe that these attacks, while launched by the Houthis in Yemen, are fully enabled by Iran.” Additionally, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced on Dec. 18 the creation of a multinational task force to help protect civilian ships in the economically vital sea route.

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 in November.

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