The USS Carney, a guided missile destroyer, operating in the Northern Red Sea, successfully intercepted and shot down three cruise missiles and several drones that were launched from territories controlled by the Houthi rebels in western Yemen.
The intercept took place just hours after the USS Carney’s arrival in the Red Sea, having transited the Suez Canal on October 18, 2023, as part of a broader strengthening of the US military presence in the region.
In a press briefing, General Pat Ryder, the Pentagon spokesperson, confirmed the incident and stated:
“Information about these engagements is still being processed, and we cannot say for certain what these missiles and drones were targeting, but they were launched from Yemen, heading north along the Red Sea, potentially towards targets in Israel.”
The USS Carney destroyer is part of the sea-based Aegis ballistic missile defense system, and as such carries a variety of surface-to-air interceptor missiles. Ryder did not specify which weapons were used.
The Houthi rebels have received support from Iran, including arms deliveries such as missiles and drones, that have been used to target the United Arab Emirates.
While Ryder did not detail which platforms were intercepted, some Iranian missiles have the capability to fly over 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) and reach Israeli territory, such as the Hoveyzeh (or Soumar) cruise missile. The Shahed 136, an Iranian loitering munition heavily used by Russia in Ukraine, also has a reported range that exceeds 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles).
In response to the recent Hamas offensive against Israel, which began on October 7, 2023, and the regional conflict that ensued, the United States has bolstered its military presence in the Middle East, with the arrival of aircraft carriers USS Gerald R. Ford and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.