U.S. Navy Destroyer Shoots Down Multiple Drones Over the Red Sea

Watchstanders on the bridge of USS Thomas Hudner, Nov. 9 (USN)

Published Nov 22, 2023 9:20 PM by The Maritime Executive

In the early hours of Thursday morning (loacl time), the USS Thomas Hudner shot down multiple "one-way attack drones" launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, according to U.S. Central Command. 

The drones were downed while Thomas Hudner was on patrol in the Red Sea, where she has been stationed to deter Houthi rebels from retaliating for the Israeli operation in Gaza. The ship was undamaged and no injuries were reported, Central Command said. 

It is the second time in a week that the crew of the Hudner engaged an unmanned aircraft over the Red Sea. Last Wednesday, Hudner shot down a drone that "originated from Yemen and was headed in the direction of the ship," the Pentagon reported. The drone was taken down to "ensure the safety of U.S. personnel."  

Despite the presence of USS Thomas Hudner and the amphibs and escorts of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, Houthi rebel forces have been active in launching strikes towards southern Israel and threatening Israeli shipping. On Sunday, the Iranian-backed rebel group announced that it had captured the PCTC Galaxy Leader, which is operated by a firm with links to an Israeli shipping magnate. The vessel was boarded by helicopter, hijacked and diverted to an anchorage at the Houthi-controlled port of Hodeidah. According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office, there are 25 seafarers aboard.

USS Thomas Hudner is assigned to the Ford Carrier Strike Group, which is stationed in the Eastern Mediterranean. After the strike group's arrival, the warship detached from the rest of the force and transited south through the Suez Canal to a position off Yemen. 

The Ford Carrier Strike Group's deployment in the Mediterranean has been extended twice, once in October and again earlier this week. USS Gerald R. Ford had been due to be relieved by USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, but will now remain on station off Israel while Eisenhower performs a deterrence mission in the Arabian Sea. 

Vessels attached to the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group have been recently photographed in Jeddah, near the Yemeni border. The group includes 2,000 embarked marines of the 26th MEU, which is trained for special operations.