It has emerged that a warship taking part in an amphibious operation off the Yemen coast has been struck by a missile off the Yemen coast.

The vessel is believed to belong to the United Arab Emirates according to local media.

Yemeni forces backed by a Saudi-led military coalition launched an assault on Yemen’s most important port early this week despite warnings of a high civilian death toll and a disruption of critical aid in their bid to defeat the Houthi rebels there.

Troops loyal to the Yemeni government were fighting the rebels outside of the Red Sea port of Hodeidah after approaching it from the south, according to residents, humanitarian groups and members of the rebel group. The ground attack on Hodeidah and its surrounding areas was being supported by airstrikes and coalition ships positioned offshore, they said.

According to local media, the Houthis pushed back. Loai al-Shami, a Houthi spokesman, said the rebels fired missiles against two coalition ships to stop them from landing on Hodeidah’s shores. “The second ship retreated after the first one was hit,” he said.

He said “tens of thousands” of pro-Houthi fighters were taking part in efforts to counter the coalition’s offensive on the port city.

The potential loss of another UAE ship (this happened July last year too) would be a major development in the Yemeni civil war that has now dragged on for over three years.

32 COMMENTS

  1. If true this is serious. Gone for ever would be the myth that Houthis are not being supplied and trained by Iran and are in fact their proxy. Don’t know what the answer is but not standing by our allies in the region is not one of them.

    • Bolshoi! Thanks to generous benefactors, Yemen was an arsenal of ‘democracy’ in the Gulf of Aden and the Straits. They had rashers of Scuds and Soviet bloc anti-ship missiles. Obviously the Houthis still do.

      Naval actions aside, our ‘allies in the region’ still seem to be doing an anti-civilian ‘genocide’ of sorts.

  2. Just goes to show how vital CIWSs are as a last line of defence against cheap and readily available land, sea or air based anti ship missiles. I hope the MoD still has the sense to equip the type 31 with such defences.

    • We don’t know what ship was hit yet. I was thinking exactly the same thing so went to the Wikipedia page about the UAE Navy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Arab_Emirates_Navy) to see what sort of CIWS they had on their vatious ships. Some are not ill-equipped, e.g. their one frigate has a 76mm Otos which I understood could act in this role (although I might be wrong). All of their corvettes have an Oto 76mm and 6 of the 8 have a 21x RIM-116 SAM unit and I’ve seen quite a few comments on this site wishing that we had the RIM-116 configuration for our Phalanx mounts rather than the 20mm cannon. The other 2 corvettes each have an 8x Crotale SAM instead of the RIM-116.

      This is all Wikipedia info so might be wrong or maybe some are FFBNW, it might be a smaller craft that was hit, or it might be that for some reason whatever defensive systems were on board failed to engage for mechanical, human factors or some other reason.

      We probably need to wait until we know what ship was hit then I expect that Gunbuster might have some very interesting observations which I definitely look forward to reading if he is generous enough to offer them.

      • We don’t know what ship was hit yet. I was thinking exactly the same thing so went to the Wikipedia page about the UAE Navy

        A little more info here:
        “The incident occurred as Saudi-led coalition forces were making an amphibious assault near the city, part of an ongoing blitz to clear Houthi rebels from the area that has included past amphibious landings. According to the Houthis, a pair of missiles struck a landing ship as it was conveying equipment and personnel ashore, leading to the retreat of a flotilla of coalition vessels and a search and rescue operation. The coalition has yet to comment on the attack.
        http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/21519/uae-naval-vessel-attacked-by-houthi-rebels-off-yemeni-coast-during-amphibious-operation

        • And here is the first actual report it was a landing ship:
          The UAE ship struck by Houthi missiles early Wednesday was a landing craft utility ship, a knowledgeable source told Business Insider, adding that the missiles were believed to be made by China or Iran. The strike also killed four UAE soldiers, but the status of the ship was not available, the source said. The ship was struck during the initial Saudi-led coalition assault on the Yemeni city of Hodeidah, which is spearheaded by the UAE and codenamed Golden Victory. The operation aims to take the port city from the Iranian-backed Houthis.

          http://uk.businessinsider.com/largest-battle-in-yemen-war-rages-on-after-uae-warship-hit-by-missiles-2018-6

  3. I think that myth was dispelled a long time ago. I’m amazed this war has lasted this long given Saudi’s perceived military superiority. I would have thought they could blockade all supplies going in and out of Yemen. It goes to show, where there is a will there is a way.

  4. Two points come out of this. Firstly how important a CIWS can be, and making sure that your ops room is awake and able to take action. Secondly that’s why we all spent so much time on damage control exercises, boring but very very important.

  5. Unfortunately your equipment is only as good as those operating it. Has there ever been a successful engagement by a CIWS especially naval in a war zone. I’m assuming in Afghanistan they had some successful interceptions but the only famous naval examples they where always turned off.

    • I think Phalanx has shot down mortar shells and rockets in Afghanistan but you’re right, not at sea to my knowledge. Mind you, I don’t think they’ve been put to the test too often.

      • I think the Japanese accidentally shot down a US Navy A6 Intruder some years ago with a phalanx …

        That’s the only engagement that’s in the public arena anyway.

    • I don’t think there’s been a real life successful missile engagement at sea. But that said, HMS Gloucester in 1991 used a sea dart to shot down a silkworm missile that was heading towards the US battleship USS Missouri. So the technology is there.

  6. It’s disgraceful and morally wrong that the UK is supporting the misogynistic totalitarian Saudi Arabian Regime in its takeover of impoverished Yemen. The barefoot Yemeni irregular soldiers might bloody the noses of lazy SA and their mercenaries yet! The committed defender always has an advantage.

  7. Sorry but i think is the same movie/pictural that i saw with an attack against an saudi arabia warships in this year or previuos year, i am positive its the same…

  8. Well I guess this is a failure of intelligence, risk assessment prior to theatre entry, proper planning, briefing, preparation and training. I don’t know what ship we’re talking about. Some are equipped with Sea RAM, others with Crotale Naval or Mistral missiles. Most have 3 inch, 40 mm or 30 mm guns. Most of these systems are in theory capable of stopping a fairly unsophisticated anti-ship missile. But were they switched on? Working properly? Were ROEs clearly briefed and understood? Were the ops crews adequately trained to operate them? Lessons to be learned here. Guerrila fighters no longer have just RPGs, HMGs on mechanicals and Kalashnikovs. They now also have anti-ship missiles!

  9. What ship is involved & what hit it? Royal Marines hit an Argentine corvette off South Georgia with a Garl Gustav in 1982. Hit a ship with an anti tank missile and there’s always a chance of starting a fire, hitting a magazine, etc.

  10. Nothing beyond what has been reported … the Gulf military are staying very tight lipped.
    However the UAE and a number of other Gulf states operate landing craft/ships similar to the ones in the link
    https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/gulf/uaens-l6401.htm
    (A useful comparison would be the old UK Army Ramped Landing Craft that have been disposed of over the years. )
    These type of craft are not going to have CIWS or RAM fitted. For a start there isn’t room or the infrastructure on them to handle a CIWS or RAM.
    As to what hit them I very much doubt it was a complex ASM. Probably a Anti Tank missile of some sort fired from shore The Houthis are known to have Kornet , Koncurs and even TOW. That gives them a respectable 4km+ range to shoot from. Mounted on the ubiquitous Land Cruiser truck it gives you a good shoot and scoot capability.
    The other alternative would be the remote control boat used on a previous attack against a Saudi Frigate. That was destroyed before it hit (contrary to reports that it did hit. However it was very close in when destroyed and the resulting explosion and debris killed some Saudi Naval crew on the deck). Again I doubt that was used as the Gulf forces are wise to that tactic and no doubt had countermeasures in place to jam a control signal hence it probably was an ATGW of some sort.

  11. When we were debating keeping our own amphibs, I made the point that they were great in 1944 but are increasingly vulnerable to the proliferation of anti-ship and anti-tank missiles held by potential adversaries. Landing ships have to get close inshore where they can be hit easily. We instinctively oppose any attempt to reduce naval strength without adequately considering technological countermeasures. A modern day D-Day landing against a prepared opponent would almost certainly fail. Assault helps are a better bet because they don’t need a beach to land their troops/equipment. The ships they fly from can remain out of range of light missiles fired from shore batteries.

    • Nick, I dont actually agree with you on this, all amphib landings are high risk/high casualty events and always have been. Even D-Day where the allies had massive superiority was touch and go for many days.

      The rules of war are more or less always the same the attacker needs a 3 or 4 to 1 advantage in terms of numbers to have the confidence of a victory (but it doesn’t always mean they will win)

      I think that technology has moved on both sides of the coin and whilst I think it may be that the defenders are better off now, a modern D-Day landing would follow the same approach as the original but be updated just like desert storm was.

    • Nick I don’t believe contested over the beach landings are so thing we considered as something we would ever do again. Land craft and floats are for easy logistics on an uncontested beach not attacking contested beaches.

    • Amphib landings are essential to provide the scale & weight of supplies & heavy equipment that landing forces need. You can insert troops with Helis, but you need amphibs to back them up logistically. Landings are only considered today where uncontested beach heads are available, though air/sea bombardment & strike combined with careful heli/para insertion may be able to clear the landing area.

  12. Any landing done by UK forces would have a lot of prep associated with it.
    Recce teams on the beach and approaches (RM and RN Clearance diving teams.)
    Air strike and NGS from FF/DD units offshore.
    SF teams already in place doing their sneaky stuff.
    Helo assault along with amphib assault on a recce’d and sanitised area.

    It would appear that the UAE tried to blag a landing without any prep…thats never a good thing to do

  13. The best amphibious landing is to go in where there is no enemy, so do the recce with drones and special forces. Second best is to remove enemy first with air power and NGS then a helo assault or light infantry landing to clear up. The current RN has limitations on both but soon we will have a QE/F35/Apache combo and T26 with 127mm. We need to add Scan Eagle or similar and CB90s and keep all our RMs and LSDs as a minimum.

  14. The photograph at the head of this report is of a frigate similar to the old Type 21 design aft of the funnel.

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