CENTCOM Confirms Fourth Downing of Drones Launched from Yemen

USNS Supply
USNS Supply seen operating with a U.S. destroyer on a previous mission (US Navy photo)

Published Nov 30, 2023 2:44 PM by The Maritime Executive


A day after the U.S. and U.K. issued safety warnings for the region around Yemen, U.S. Central Command is confirming that a U.S. destroyer has shot down yet another drone launched from Yemen. It is the second recent engagement for the USS Carney which was on escort duty at the time.

CENTCOM reports that the drone was launched midday on November 29 from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and was approaching the Carney which was sailing at the time in the South Red Sea near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. Although its intentions are not known, the UAV was heading toward the warship when the order was given to shoot it down. The analysis shows that it was an Iranian-produced KAS-04.

At the time of this incident, the Carney was escorting the USNS Supply, a Military Sealift Command fast combat supply ship. The oiler is manned by a combination of navy personnel and civilians. CENTCOM said there was an unidentified U.S. flagged and crewed ship carrying military equipment to the region also sailing with the other two ships at the time. Details were not provided on this vessel, but the Military Sealift Command operates under charter U.S. merchant ships to transport supplies.

This marks the fourth shoot down that CENTCOM and the U.S. Navy have acknowledged in a little of a month’s time since the start of the Israeli war against Hamas. On October 19, the Carney intercepted missiles and drones also originating from the Houthi areas of Yemen. The Navy acknowledged three missiles which they believed were aimed toward Israel and an unconfirmed number of drones. Subsequent media reports said the drone launches had spanned several hours. 

Navy spokespersons also reported that another destroyer, the USS Thomas Hudner has engaged in two other incidents. On November 15 and again on November 22, the destroyed also shot down drones. In addition, early on November 27, the Navy said missiles were fired from Yemen in the direction of a U.S. warship as it was completing the rescue mission to a tanker that had been attacked in the area. The U.S. did not engage those missiles which landed in the ocean about 10 nautical miles from the U.S. vessel.

Drones have become an increasing danger to the U.S. warships. Shortly before this latest shoot down, CENTCOM reported that an Iranian drone was operating in the area of the carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, which recently entered the Persian Gulf. According to the statement from CENTCOM, they repeatedly issued warnings to the drone which were ignored and at one point, the drone came within 1,500 yards of the Eisenhower. CENTCOM called the operation of the drone “unsafe, unprofessional, and irresponsible behavior by Iran.”

The U.S. Maritime Administration followed by the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations each issued safety warnings to shipping operating in the region stretching from the Gulf of Aden to the Indian Ocean. UKMTO received reports of three small vessels acting suspiciously yesterday prompting its warning. MARAD issued a general safety warning to all vessels while calling on U.S. vessels to review safety advisories and register their movements with the local command.