The United States Navy Just Successfully Thwarted A Cruise Missile Attack On A Ship

By 10.12.16


A pretty scary situation just unfolded off the coast of Yemen, where a U.S. Navy Destroyer had to activate it’s anti-missile system to stop a cruise missile attack. USS Mason and its amphibious transport ship USS Ponce are deployed off the coast of Yemen, which is currently embroiled in civil war. Rebels on the coast fired cruise missiles at the US ships, triggering the ship’s cruise missile defense system.

A naval analyst told USNI this “a huge deal”, noting it’s the first time the system — SM-2 missiles and the Enhanced Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) — has ever been actively used in engagement, despite being on ships for almost two decades.

via the Military Times:

The cruise-missile attack originated from territory controlled by Shiite Houthis, a rebel group supported by Iran. It appeared to be targeting the amphibious transport dock Ponce or the destroyer Mason, ultimately triggering one of the Mason’s counter-missile systems, a U.S. defense official said.

“Anybody who takes action, fires against U.S. Navy ships operating in international waters, does so at their own peril,” Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said Tuesday. “We’re going to find out who did this and we will take action accordingly.”

Sunday’s attack marks the first time in recent memory that a U.S. Navy vessel was forced to engage its on-board defense systems. The Pentagon has declined to specify which system the ship used. The Mason is equipped with a Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) air defense defense system, which uses outgoing missiles to force incoming missiles off course and into the water.

A report Tuesday from the U.S. Naval Institute said the destroyer fired two SM-2s missiles and a single Enhanced Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) to intercept the incoming cruise missile.  The ship used also used its Nulka anti-ship missile decoy, according to USNI.

Glad we have the technology to keep our sailors safe. Still, it’s unsettling to hear of a US ship getting fired on in an attack like that.

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