|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Oct 13, 2016 12:49 AM EDT|
(Photo : US Navy) USS Nitze
The United States finally struck back at Yemeni Houthi rebels who fired three missiles at a U.S. Navy destroyer on Oct. 9 by destroying three radar stations that detected and electronically "painted" or locked onto the U.S. warship.
The attack occurred at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time (0100 GMT) on Oct. 12. The navy said the USS Nitze (DDG-94), one of its three warships patrolling the Red Sea off the southern coast of Yemen, launched BGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles against three coastal radar sites in Yemen.
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It revealed initial assessments that indicated all three sites in rebel Houthi-controlled areas were destroyed. The Nitze is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer.
In the early evening of Oct. 9, some of the destroyed Houthi radar stations in Yemen "painted" the USS Mason (DDG-87), another Arleigh Burke-class destroyer on patrol in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.
Houthis rebels then launched three anti-ship missiles (ASMs) -- probably Chinese-made C-802 ASMs -- guided by the radar stations. Mason defeated these ASMs using its anti-missile missiles and decoy missiles.
The navy said Mason used RIM-66 SM-2 anti-missile missiles and RIM-7 Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles to engage the Houthi ASMs "well away from the ship."
A ranking navy official said the navy was confident Houthis were aware they were targeting the U.S. warship because spotters were seen nearby.
Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said President Barack Obama authorized the strikes on the recommendation of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford.
"These limited self-defense strikes were conducted to protect our personnel, our ships and our freedom of navigation in this important maritime passageway," said Cook.
"The United States will respond to any further threat to our ships and commercial traffic, as appropriate, and will continue to maintain our freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, the Bab el-Mandeb, and elsewhere around the world."
Mason was again attacked on Oct. 12, this time by one ASM. The ASM missed. This latest attack was followed in the evening by the U.S. counterattack.
Along with the USS Mason and USS Nitze on patrol is the USS San Antonio (LPD-17), an amphibious transport dock or landing platform dock carrying hundreds of battle ready U.S. Marines.
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