USS Carney destroyer neutralizes attacking Houthi drone in Red Sea

On November 29, 2023, the USS Carney, a United States Navy destroyer, neutralized an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) originating from Yemen. This incident, occurring near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, is part of the ongoing confrontations with the Iran-backed Houthi rebels. This event recalls an earlier interception of a Houthi missile by the same vessel, as reported by Navy Recognition on October 20, 2023.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (Picture source: US Navy)

Operating in the southern Red Sea, the USS Carney engaged the Iranian KAS-04 drone as it approached the warship. This action was part of the ship's duties in the region, which included escorting other U.S. vessels such as the USNS Supply, a fast combat supply ship, and another American-flagged ship carrying military supplies.

There were no reported injuries or damage to U.S. vessels. This encounter follows a recent incident where an Iranian drone dangerously approached the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, an aircraft carrier operating in international waters.

The USS Carney, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer of the U.S. Navy, designated DDG-64, is the 14th destroyer of its class in the U.S. Navy. Commissioned on April 13, 1996, it was built by Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. The Carney has a total displacement of approximately 8,900 long tons when fully loaded. It measures 505 feet in length, with a beam width of 59 feet and a draft of 31 feet. Its propulsion system allows it to attain speeds exceeding 30 knots.

Equipped with advanced sensors and processing systems, the USS Carney features the AN/SPY-1D PESA 3D and AN/SPY-6(V)1 AESA 3D radars. Its armament includes missile launchers (e.g., the Mk 41 Vertical Launching System for various missiles, including anti-ship and anti-ballistic missiles), guns (5-inch Mk 45 Mod 1/2 lightweight gun, Phalanx CIWS, Mk 38 Machine Gun System), and torpedo tubes.

Furthermore, the USS Carney has undergone significant upgrades, including the addition of the RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) capability as part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. It has also enhanced its close-range defense capabilities by replacing the aft Phalanx CIWS with the SeaRAM 11-cell RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile launcher.

The region has witnessed several maritime security incidents recently, including the seizure of a tanker linked to Israel near Aden and the hijacking of an Israeli-linked cargo ship in the Red Sea by the Houthi rebels, raising tensions in the area. The Houthi movement, known for its anti-Israel and anti-U.S. rhetoric, has extended its activities beyond Yemen's borders, targeting southern Israel with drone and missile attacks.

Vice Admiral Brad Cooper of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command criticized the recent drone activity as dangerously unprofessional and a significant risk to the safety of U.S. and allied personnel. The increased surveillance and interference by Iranian drones, particularly in strategic locations like the Strait of Hormuz, signify heightened tensions and the strategic importance of these maritime regions. The Red Sea, a crucial shipping lane extending from the Suez Canal to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, has become increasingly significant for global trade and energy supplies, especially since the onset of the Israel-Hamas conflict in early October.