Greece and Italy Engage Drones as Houthi Missile Targets USS Laboon

Greek frigate Hydra
Greek frigate Hydra fired its first shots in the Red Sea defense mission (EU Aspides)

Published Mar 13, 2024 2:24 PM by The Maritime Executive


The multi-national forces in the Red Sea region continue to have daily engagements with the Houthi rebels with Greece and Italy reporting the latest efforts as part of the EU Operation Aspides to defend the region. The U.S. Central Command also reports daily strikes and relayed that the Houthis launched a missile at a U.S. warship earlier this week.

The engagement was the first for the Greek frigate Hydra, a MEKO 200 class vessel, which joined the patrols earlier in the month. Commissioned in 1992, the 3,350-ton frigate was assigned to the mission late in February and sailing for the Red Sea region on March 3. Over the weekend, Greece’s Defense Minister Nikos Dendias visited the Hydra and the vessel was coming back from Djibouti on Monday.

According to the reports, the Hydra encountered two Houthi drones early today local time while in the Gulf of Aden. She used her 127 mm main gun. The Hellenic Navy reports the drones withdrew, alternating course away from the warship and the ships in the region. It marked the first time the Hydra fired during this mission.

Greece is taking an active role in the EU mission leading the command on land as well as having a vessel in the region. Officials highlight it has been one of the most directly impacted countries. They cite a nearly 13 percent decline in activity at Piraeus’ container terminal since the disruptions began in the Red Sea. Several Greek-owned or managed vessels have also been among those attacked in the region.

The Italian frigate Caio Duilio also had another engagement with the Houthis with this one reported early on March 12. Command for Aspides reports the Italian warship repelled an attack from UAVs that were deemed to be a threat to shipping in the region.

As part of the Houthis vowed efforts to step up the attacks, early on Tuesday CENTCOM reports the terrorists fired one close-range ballistic missile from Yemen toward USS Laboon in the Red Sea. They are saying the missile did not impact the vessel without elaborating on any actions that might have been taken. 

Later in the day, CENTCOM reports U.S. and a coalition vessel successfully engaged and destroyed two unmanned aerial systems (UAS) launched from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen.

Shipping executives speaking at the Capital Link Forum in New York on Monday repeatedly expressed that they are prepared for the disruptions and security threats in the Red Sea region to continue for months. It was pointed out that the Houthis are likely to continue their actions even when stability returns to Gaga despite the assertions by the militants that their actions are in support of the Palestinian people.