It looks to me as if the Houthis (Ansar Allah party) have a response to the American/Saudi aggression against Yemen that could mean real trouble coming up for merchant ships and tankers going through the Bab el Mandeb. Crew members of the HSV-2, the modern, very fast, Australian built, UAE auxiliary ship (seemingly designed by someone who was under the influence of the Italian film-director Federico Fellini), that was gutted by fire and explosion on October 1 have been quoted in the press in Gulf newspapers as saying that the attack began about 3 a.m. with most of the Ukrainian/Central European crew of 24 asleep. There was a powerful explosion which lurched the ship down on one side, the force of which suggests either an antitank Kornet or an Iranian Noor. The aluminum superstructure began to burn. I believe the video, whoever provided it, is accurate. I believe this because the vast horseshoe of windows on what I assume is the observation deck clearly show fire burning behind them, once you understand how unusual the ship is. A crewmember states that there were small boats around the ship steadily firing small arms into the ship.
Another source says that there is now a search on for the small boats involved. Another report says there were four hits on the ship from shoulder-fired weapons.(?) But the video suggests to me, because I have accepted that it is genuine, that the missile travelled a distance of at least a couple of miles. Problem is, that a Kornet CM thermobarbic can travel 8-10,000 meters, out to beyond five miles. Question would be: was one of the presumed Houthi boats fitted out with the Kornet launch system? Which is possible. Worse, what if Iran has now supplied the Houthis with Noor missiles and the technicians to operate them? Remember that a Noor missile was used in the wrecking of the very modern, Tuscaloosa-built Israeli corvette, INS Hanit, on July 14, 2006, some ten miles off the Lebanese coast. Inasmuch as the question seems to be the threat to commercial shipping, is not the sinking of the Egyptian freighter some 27 miles further out, by a second Noor missile shot, that went high,equally interesting? The Egyptian ship is said to have gone down very fast. The crew was picked up by boats from Cyprus. You would be surprised how hard it is to find out what happened to that freighter. If the Noor came in from a steep angle, it could simply have gone through the ship, then detonated, either at the bottom of the hull or under the ship. It would be interesting to know how much time the crew had to abandon ship. Now we have the firing of two missiles at the USS Mason, an Arleigh Burke DDG that was in the straits along with now some other US navy ships to protect shipping in transit. Did the Mason's electronic counter-measures work against the Noor and cause the missiles to fall short? Or are the missiles being used something else, like Kornets? And was it a warning; or some tribesmen out of control? I suspect that the attack on the Mason was not by Noor missiles. One might have overshot. If knocked down, I suspect the missile would have come very close, not "fallen(far?) short," as described, as a Kornet might, if shot defiantly, but out of range. Further, I think an attack on an American warship would have been a lot more thorough, if carried out by an Iranian team. I think that a well-coordinated Noor attack might be a game-changer in the region. You're looking at a serious escalation if one or more Arleigh Burke DDG's are crippled by a calculated and well planned simultaneous attack by four or five Noor missiles, operated by teams of Iranian technicians. I have read that the onboard radar in the Noor nose-cone is not that vulnerable; according to Wiki the Noor has been upgraded to the Qader, and in early 2012 "during Velayete-90 wargames, a Noor missile was tested with improvements in electronic systems, a more jam-resistent radar and better target acquisition algorithms. A Qader missile was also tested in the wargame." Iran is said to have thousands of Noor missiles by now. I have always imagined (and once or twice found a writer willing to discuss it) that the well-designed attack, using these surely somewhat obsolescent Noor missiles, would have to be brought off using a first volley of at least five; and once the target's defensive systems begin to be degraded, a second attack by another five commences. There could also be a boat borne Kornet attack launched at the same time. There are islands in that area, and hiding places along the coast. The Kornet has enough range in the right places, where fairly careful navigation is required, with Captain on bridge. I have been wondering for years why an American warship has not been attacked with sophisticated missiles by a group that chooses not to identify itself. Bab el Mandeb is one of the perfect bodies of water to launch such an attack. Then there are the straits of Gibraltar, eight miles wide, where Moroccan elections just handed Islamist parties more political power. I think it is pretty well certain that if American keep escalating in the Middle East, an American warship, or a group of warships, is going to be successfully attacked somewhere off the Arabian littoral. And then what? – Tidewater
Link to the video? Why did the DDG not return fire? pl
I posted this one earlier (10/3/16):
Firing off a few missiles isn’t an American Monopoly anymore
This Houthi attack might well be a big game changer.
All of this stuff is tied together.
When I asked over at another site (forgot where) the folks there said that it was a Noor.
The Yemen Navy has had Styx and Termit Antiship missiles since the Cold War, the predessors of China’s Silkworm and Iran’s clone.
The Yemen Navy sided with Saleh.
The Houthis would have made the most natural allies the US could have possibly found throughout the Muslim world, and are the only Muslim folks who oppose AQ more than we do.
The Saudi coalition has been dropping US-supplied bombs from US-supplied planes on populated areas for a year and a half. The US has supported the Saudis and sided against the Houthis. When Saudi pilots ditch their planes, the US has rescued the pilots. The US has supplied “advisors” at all levels of the Saudi effort. The US Navy has enforced a blockade of Houthi-controlled ports.
Apparently, the Houthis consider all of those US actions somewhat bellicose, and don’t really appreciate the difference between the US and Saudi militaries.
Are they wrong?
The Houthi’s also are an escalation path for Russia in response to US calls for dead Russian soldiers in Syria. This could leave plausible deniability while also leaving an identifiable calling card for the US military.
Crew component of the HSV-2 is 35, 22 dead, suggests the missile was very effective on impact – is that compatible with a thermobaric weapon, or would such a missile normally allow more time for crew to get overboard.
What ability would the Houti rebels have to discern between a US vs a Saudi coalition destroyer at these ranges?
Several edits around.
Slightly different edit from PR TV, more on the larger Yemen/Saudi context:
Here a longer version of the event without the Press TV press bar on the bottom from channel:
… folks there said that it was a Noor.
⛬ … ⛬
I have seen the video on different twitter a/cs:
I saw the video you referenced above the other day as well. As I understand it, that was a United Arab Emirates ship, as here–
The following report at the start may be about the U.S. Navy ship–
And these articles–
Colonel , FYI Iranian media has started to instead of calling the studies crime calling it Salmans crime, I guess they are hoping for a bigger inter family divide, and destabilization, so, they are now referencing the Yemen bombing as Al Salman’ crimes and not Al Saud’ crime.
Tidewater to turcopolier,
Sir, I apologize for not linking. (I have some problems doing it.) “HSV Swift hit by missile attack–MARINE LOG,” corrects the YOUTUBE videos that claim the HSV-2 Swift was sunk. It was not. It’s likely it was towed to Assab, a port in Eritrea, and the UAE says that they will rebuild it. Marine Log also shows a photo of the damaged ship which corroborates the video, proving that the hit was on the forward part of the ship.
The video reminds me of the video of the attack on the INS Hanit, an attack that was actually called by an Hezbollah cleric, I think, in mosque, right as it began to happen? Night time, the dot of white light moving up into the sky, the sudden large and confusing illumination of a large area of black sea by a startlingly large explosion. I am now inclined to think that while the Houthi had boats on scene and could have fired RPGs, that the whole video does suggest a missile launch, which would mean technicians manning a radar; knowing how to lock on to the target; knowing how to feed into the missile through a connecting wire the coordinates of the target and other info, such as whether to go low, sea-skimming, or high. Then, I assume, fire and forget. Depart the scene, pronto. I guess it’s pretty clear it was a sophisticated missile. Maybe there are also areas hit by RPGs.
Roberta Pennington, a reporter for an Abu Dhabi newspaper, The National, interviewed some of the crew members of the Swift. “Crew members of UAE ship attacked by Houthis tell of terrifying raid.” (October 5.) One Oleksander said that after he got on deck he could see the bridge of the ship (the horseshoe of glass, then) was completely destroyed by fire. It seems that this would include the whole forward part of the ship.
Shailendra Kumar, an Indian crewmember, said he ran towards the back “and saw people firing from a small boat. The gunfire continued for half an hour…”
That’s interesting because the Swift can go faster than the five-engined QM2–more than some 35 mph. If man overboard, about two miles to stop the QM2.
“After the shooting stopped, the crew of the Swift set out to launch a lifeboat as they waited for rescue. The UAE Navy and Coastguard arrived at about an hour or two after the missile strike.” From where? Aden?
There seems to me to be something irrational about the attack on the USS Mason. According to CBS news “Missiles land near US ship as Yemen’s war stretches beyond borders.” (October 10.)”Yemen’s Shiite rebels known as Houthis and their allies offered no reason for the launches, though they came after a Saudi-led airstrike targeting a funeral in Yemen’s capital killed more than 140 people and wounded 525 on Saturday.” There was a huge protest march in Sanaa afterwards. Then the Soviet era Skud was fired from a point in Yemen all the way up to Taif, the mountain resort for ordinary Saudis and the first locale of Saudi royals’ weekend palaces, not that far from Mecca. It seems to have landed in the area of the King Fahad Air Base, where there are Americans training the Saudi armed forces, causing no harm. That’s a distance of 325 miles!
Then came the ‘attack’ on the Mason. From CBS, October 10, “Lt. Ian McConnaughey, a spokesman for U.S. Navy Forces Central Command, said Monday it’s unclear if the USS Mason was specfically targeted, though the missiles were fired in its direction over an hour’s time period, starting around 7 p.m.”
The whole thing doesn’t make a lot of sense. The Qader has a range of at least 120 miles. Most of the Iranian Noors can reach out at least one hundred miles. The ship was north of the Bab al Mandeb, we are told. I haven’t got out my protractor but it would seem to me that that ship was not 120 miles away from any potential launch site unless, of course, the launch came from back in the mountains. The distances are not that great in this part of the Red Sea; they are, obviously, confining, as you go south. After the islands, going through the straits, you could, years ago, see the principal landmark of the shore from the exit lane one’s ship is directed to stay in and follow; it was some miles away, nothing else there, the colors of the shore line are forbiddingly yellowish, an ancient, surely ruined, mosque, immortalized on the old British charts (which are still used.) Strange, somehow. Sometimes the charts note simply: “Tree.”
I’m sure anything the Houthi’s might have ‘lit off’ would have been picked up on the ship’s several different radars and analyzed by the ship’s CIC. ‘Not a drill’, very serious, etc., skunk situation. At first. But two somethings fired at some point in sixty minutes, both of which falling short? That doesn’t make any sense! They tell us they don’t even know if it was an attack? But the Hanit attack suggests that the Iranian Noor game-plan is to launch at least two, one high, one low, and simultaneously. (And the only reason the Hanit wasn’t sunk was because there was a very large crane being carried folded up against a bulkhead on the ship’s deck, and the missile hit that first.
If it is true that there was no counter battery fire (Counter-RAM) , not that I know anything about Counter RAM, except that it works. I don’t think I could be able to say anything sensible about what countermeasures Mason might have taken. Interesting and fun subject, though! For example, if the missile is launched from one hundred miles away, would electronic countermeasures even begin to kick in until some suspenseful long moments when the bird flies into the electronic net? Still, I can’t help being suspicious and wonder if the ship couldn’t have analyzed from the missile’s velocity, direction, speed, height, stability, etc. whether it was a rapidly developing threat, or not.
All I can say is that I don’t think this could be being played as a Gulf of Tonkin incident. It looks to me like the Houthi’s, sick with impotent fury, vented their rage. I assume it will all blow over.
Of course, it’s not going to ever be over from now on. Given climate change, how much time is left to make some sort of peace with Islam? Ten years? Won’t happen. And the weapons on the other side will get better and better. As Deringolade noted on October 3, things have changed for all the western navies. And surely the danger is greater than gutting a few of “our beautiful ships”, as Trump so surprisingly said.
There’s a fairly new super breeder reactor on the French Atlantic coast below Cherbourg off to the southwest at Cap de Flamanville. It is the most powerful reactor that has ever been built. I think I have got this right. It is, of course, surely hardened. But if that ever was hit hard, if that ever went up… That’s western civilization.
One verified HSV-2 hulk and some claims that the missile was a Chinese C-802 anti-ship missile.
Tidewater replies to ISL,
Because Roberta Pennington, a reporter of the UAE newspaper The National, seems to have been able to interview some of the crew members, I am inclined to take seriously her report that there were 24 crewmembers on board from six different nationalities. If there had been a slaughter of twenty-two crew members, I think she would have had an international story. She definitely would not have missed such big news in such a small place (after all that’s what those Gulf principalities are), and her beat would have surely taken her to the hospital emergency rooms, to the police, and to the expatriate watering holes. She would find out. People would be talking. (I still remember that Djibouti incident of ’76, walking at twilight unknowingly up the back streets to what turned out to be the hospital, finding people there on the street side of a low hedge leaning in with grave expressions talking to patients on the other side who were dressed in striped hospital bathrobe, pajamas etc. And slowly beginning to understand the growing feeling of oppression that I had had. If it is indeed true that noone was killed immediately, perhaps it is because the crew’s quarters were a deck or two lower and further aft. It seems that most got out, though there were some seriously injured. I still find it hard to understand how the few men on watch on the bridge were not instantly killed.
As to what hit the ship. If the Noor carries a similar warhead to the Chinese C-802, I am guessing then about 360 pounds of high explosive went off in the forward part of the ship, perhaps slightly time-delayed. (Or 165 kilos.)
I agree that the Houthi’s are on “an escalation path” but I don’t know their connection to the Russians, at this point. If Iran has inserted a number of missile crews into safe houses in Yemen and stockpiled a large number of missiles there–and it seems obvious that at least some Iranian technicians are there now, I don’t see Houthi’s handling these weapon systems unless they were trained in Iran– then any American escalation in the near future, say, by rescinding the Vienna (2015) JCPOA or even launching some kind of attack on Iran, could certainly result in payback at Bab al Mandeb. Just block the straits; lure in your targets; arrange a sophisticated attack. We know now that it can be done! What also crosses my mind are those LNG carriers that go up to Suez from Yemen and the Gulf and over to New England. If one went off–say off of Jedda, with a wind out of the west…Not that it would be easily done, and hasn’t happened yet, anywhere. Still…
I am not professionally knowledgeable about these matters, by the way, in the way that some contributors here are.
Nope, they are not wrong.
On the other side of the coin, they don’t spend $120 billion a year on lobbying in Washington and the US Government doesn’t collect 7% on arms sales.
UAE says nobody died.
Down column is a thread on the attack.
In most commenter’s position, the damage is consistent with an ASW missile hit, with the warhead not dentonating, ( aluminium, not armour), just the fuel and explosives burning off.
First off, it’s the Revolutionary Commitee, not the Houthi’s,
Second off, nothing.
Doubt the piece above:
The Houthi have said that the attack on UAE fast supply ship was by a Chinese C-802 (a copy and further development of the Excocet with longer range and terminal radar guidance). Yemen was rumored for some time to have acquired these years ago from the Chinese. As Saleh obviously bought everything he could get in huge quantities that seems plausible to me. The Iranian Noor is a modified copy of the C-802. A C-802 is consistent with the video as it shows a two stage missile with the first stage falling away. The hit in the video also seems to be quote big. Not sure a Kornet would be that strong.
IF this was an Iranian missile it would be the *first* Iranian weapon in the war visible on video. There is no evidence yet that Iran has provided *any* weapons to the Houthis though some Hizbullah experts may be in Yemen to provide advice in local manufacturing of missiles. (A while ago an Australian ship brought up an unflagged Dau with some rusted AK’s. They said it was going to Somalia. Then the U.S. took over the case and immediately claimed it was an Iranian Dau going to Yemen. It never explained why Yemen would need additional AK-47s or old machine guns. The country is flooded with such weapons and lots of brand new ones are available from Saudis fleeing their posts.)
The Houthi deny *any* attack on the destroyer.
Haykal Bafana, a Singapore lawyer of Yemeni heritage living in Sanaa, is saying that there is not even a rumor of the Houthis firing at it. His job is to deal with such local information (professionally selling it to oil companies engaged in Yemen). He thinks its a Gulf of Tonkin story.
“- Not even any idle gossip on this in #Yemen, much less media reports. This Pentagon claim needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Large one.”
– At this stage, in the absence of evidence & indeed, the lack of anger or outrage from the Pentagon, I’ll file this under Gulf of Tonkin.”
That said: The Saudi attack on the funeral was as vicious as one could get. More than 200 dead and many, for lack of medical service and no evacuations, still likely to die. 17 generals were killed and 12 wounded – the tribal “elite” of northern Yemen. Do the Saudis understand what will follow from this? How many tribes, even those disliking Saleh and Houthis, will now send their sons against them?
(I don’t believe the “Saudi pilot was running wild, acted against orders” rumor. The hit must have been based in intelligence. From the U.S.?)
Within hours of the Saudi airstrikes on the memorial service in Sana’a that killed and wounded many civilians, the US military announced that two missiles were fired at the USS Mason from Houthi-controlled territory, which pointed the finger of blame at Iran and/or the Houthis.
But I think either party’s deliberate involvement in such an attack at this time would be pretty strange, unless I’m giving them too much credit for intelligence. This is because never before have the Houthis found themselves the object of so much sympathy from so many — a point I don’t think would be lost on Iran’s military.
And the Saudi airstrikes on the mourners have not only touched off a tremendous outcry from the ‘international community,’ they’ve also prompted very strong criticism from the Obama Administration — to the point of publicly announcing a review of US support for Saudis in the Yemen war.
So this would be the absolute worst time for the Houthis or Iranians to deliberately shoot at an American vessel.
For what it’s worth the Houthis are denying that they fired the missiles:
AP reported, “However, the Houthi-controlled SABA news agency of Yemen quoted an anonymous army official denying its forces fired on the USS Mason, without elaborating.” (Oct 10)
Reuters, which broke the missile firing story, reported, “The Houthi movement on Monday denied its forces had carried out a missile attack on a U.S. warship which the U.S. Navy said was launched from Yemeni territory under Houthi control. “[The Houthi movement] denies targeting any ship off Yemeni waters,” a Houthi official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.” (Oct 10)
The theory I have heard from the Yemeni circles that I run with is that the second attack on the US ship was meant to be a false flag attack. After the successful Houthi attack on the UAE ship it is felt that a follow on attack by the Houthis on an American vessel could have potentially drawn America openly into the fight against the Houthis. I don’t know how credible that is. What I can say is that with my interactions with Yemenis, on what can be described the pro Houthi side, there is no interest or will in drawing in the US into the conflict any more than it already is. They see the moves in the US to stop support for KSA as a positive thing. There is absolutely nothing for the Houthis or Saleh to gain by bringing the US into open conflict. The Houthis are in it for the long haul and feel that they have the ability to stick it out past the Saudis weak resolve. KSA air power is not enough to turn the tide in Yemen and they will not commit to sending the ground forces needed to do the job. Inept moves by Hadi and his forces, ie the moves made with the central bank, are in the Houthis favour.
The Saudis *should* understand what this means. They are tribal as well, nevermind having worked with and against these same tribes in their long history with Yemen. It was a huge mistake on the part of the Saudis so one wonders if it was an ordered attack or initiative on the part of the pilot/pilots involved. Saleh came out with a sharp speech after the attack, and to paraphrase part of the speech, he told the members of the tribes who were there and impacted, some either on the fence in the conflict or even against the Houthis/Saleh, he said “I won’t tell you what to do, you already know what you need to do.”
There will be a price to pay for the Saudis for this attack.
So, your thesis is that the Saudis faked this attack in order to elicit greater help from the US in they pathetic war in Yemen? pl
In 1964 there was a powerful faction in the US government that wanted to intervene in the intra-Vietnamese war (turn back the onrushing menace, etc.). That is why they faked or exaggerated (take your pick of term)the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Where is the neocon faction that wants to intervene more in Yemen of all places? What would be the motive? Would it be to further embarrass Iran by causing problems for their supposed Houthi allies? Are people concerned that Houthi/Salihist forces threaten the existence of the wretched kingdom? pl
In my experience, in war zones, crazy shit happens that makes no sense. The US Naval Ship (Leased By the UAE, manned by Ukranians and Eastern Europeans) was intoxicating.
Someone else tried it and failed. Such is life.
We might well be trying to hard to make sense of this, it might me a strange brew of khat and testosterone and not have any deeper meaning behind it other than “We killed those bastards”
TW: Couldn’t the UAE be suppressing the number of KIA?
Well, as every Arab knows, there is a Shia Conspiracy:
No, I don’t think the Saudis would have done any sort of attack on the US ship. I do believe however, as others have pointed out above, that it was not the Houthis nor Saleh forces that carried out the failed attack. There are multiple different Yemeni actors who would benefit from increased US involvement in the war. The Houthis/Saleh would have everything to lose from such an escalation and little or nothing to gain.
One of my cronies at our morning coffee shop gathering said the HSV Swift used to be US flagged. He claims it was under charter to the American Navy, but was sold to an outfit in the UAE. He did not have dates. He’s a retired Coastie, and still in the CG Auxiliary, so I suspect he got he got that info there. Do you have any insight on that?
He also took the HSV Swift attack to berate the Navy’s LCS program. Claims LCS would make a great CG Cutter in peacetime, but is just a defenseless, high speed POJ for the Navy.
What problem exactly do you have to link to the video that guided your extensive readings, random choice:
But the video suggests to me, because I have accepted that it is genuine, that the missile travelled a distance of at least a couple of miles.
Concerning other matters you alluded to you forced me to somewhat to juxtapose shots from a day and night take. Based on whatever videos linked her or others I found.
This nitwit on military matters missed relevant images from the ship traveling at night before being hit. I am not suggesting it didn’t happen. But why not take a shot of the ship at night before hitting it. The camera movements no doubt suggest a boat, somehow.
KSA does have some “friends” with plenty of experience in false-flag work…
The “neocon faction” that is running for President (as a Democrat this time) and that still controls Congress (bipartisan, but the R’s are noisier & more united about it) don’t care about Yemen, but they have been trying for years to get us to attack Iran.
Whenever the MSM bothers to mention the Houthi’s, there’s always a phrase about how they are allied with and/or supplied by Iran. KSA’s influence on US media is limited. Neocon influence is not.
Maybe I’m paranoid about false-flag attacks in that region; but they really are out to get us [involved].
Is can think of Islah, the Yemeni Muslim brotherhood, as well as the Southern movement (supported by the UAE) having interest in drawing the U.S. into war against Houthi.
But there is little additional war that could be waged against them. The Saudis daily bomb the Houthi norther areas and cities and any ship coming in or leaving, even fisherboats, is attacked. The north is literary starving to an extend that has not yet made the western press. What else could anyone do to them?
What proof is there that any attack took place? Any pictures? Any video of the radar tracks? Nothing I’ve seen. So maybe somebody is lying. It’s not unknown for the USN to lie. Gulf of Tonkin. Iran Air Flight 655.
Why? To distract attention from the war crime committed by the Saudis a few hour early in Sana’a. With Kerry running round shouting “Russian war crimes”, it’s a bit embarrassing if your 2nd BFF in the Middle East decides to carry out a real war crime, instead of the imaginary one that Kerry has just accused the Russians of carrying out (b’s example of 20 dead and 100 wounded at a non-existent hospital in Aleppo). So you rephrase the story to make the Houthis look bad and the Saudis can go on committing war crimes for you.
her report that there were 24 crewmembers on board from six different nationalities. If there had been a slaughter of twenty-two crew members, I think she would have had an international story.
Are you trying, admittedly I am puzzled, to differentiate between forces involved in war and potential different perpetrators on the ground involved via the term: “slaughter”? Why djibouti 1976? Iranians involved would be slaughter versus KIA?
Could you help me out to grasp what you are trying to tell us via the first paragraph?
Of course the Houthis oppose AQ more than we do. The US is arming and supporting them currently in Syria. Pretty easy to oppose AQ more than that.
Thanks, I agree in that I can’t see any reason to suppress the deaths, and it would be a big story for UAE.
If part of an escalation path, this would be the equivalent of a warning shot via the R+6 to the US.
You forgot that the Saudi planes are refuel in the air by American planes. I think that is a biggie. It is a change from help to being directly involved.
Britain made a lot of stupid mistakes over the centuries, but that idea about eternal interests trumping eternal alliances comes to mind here. FDR’s pledge to KSA way back in the halcyon days of the Empire’s glory are not helping our interests. Or those of our allies.
There are several reasons to suppress the death toll.The shipping industry is in trouble enough already. I can imagine insurance for moving through those straights would become near prohibitively expensive. There are other reasons.
The Yemeni Navy’s Coastal Defense units have always been the lowest in priority among the entire Yemeni military, even in the best of times.
The Yemeni Navy’s Coastal Defense sites have not been assessed as operational in decades, although it is conceivable that isolated systems or components could be made operational with outside assistance (Pasdaran?).
If Iran had been successful in delivering any significant amount of advanced weapons to the Huthis, or established a significant advisory presence, which they haven’t during the last 18 months, it would be a big deal.
I would initially assess this as more likely to be “crazy shit” than give credit to a false flag attack or other conspiracy theories which are possible, but less likely given the realities of the Yemen operational environment.
Tidewater comments to All,
Because there is more than one witness that there were small boats near the Swift I felt that the possibility of the use of the Kornet had to be brought up. If you have a weapon with a range out to six miles and a warhead of 22 pounds–that’s more than twice the high explosive in an 81 mm (UK) mortar round — you can be sure it will be heard from again in that area, whether or not it was used in this instance. The Kornet, incidentally, is what took out the Merkavas in 2006, presumably from the side. Also, the Iranians seem to have developed in the last forty years a very good arms industry. They have reverse engineered the Kornet, just as they did the Chinese C-802. With, no doubt, Chinese coooperation, in the latter instance.
I think b has a very good point that the Noor is a two-stage rocket and that that would account for the point of light falling away. The whole question of who the launch technicians were is very interesting. Frankly, I am suspicious that Yemen would have had them. I think Yemen is a narco-society.
The (turbo-fan?) rocket engine of the Exocet is thought to be what sank the Sheffield ,after about a week of struggle to survive in the South Atlantic, when the warhead didn’t explode. That’s an interesting suggestion that something similar is what happened to the Swift.
If the UAE tried to suppress the story, I think the National would simply have passed the story back to Fleet Street in London. They would have had taped interviews; possibly even videotapes of witnesses and arrivals. I’m not sure why the UAE would want to suppress the story, to begin with. It is quite possible these days –as it was in the sixties, on most American metropolitan newspapers, when police communications were monitored closely by a night city editor as he worked at his desk, and by the police reporter in his vehicle, with another radio between them that allowed for an alert click, or a bored remark, such as “Uh, you got that? Cops want a photographer,” (Murder!) –that an English language newspaper like the National would also be monitoring police networks in the UAE. Nowadays, there is so much monitoring going on that cops sometimes use their own cell phones just to mean-spiritedly spite the press. Also, there are the pagers. And scanners. Not just the NSA is listening! For example, there would have been a lot of ambulances somewhere, with radios, either to meet the injured at Aden after they were brought in by UAE Coast Guard, or if and when a plane brought the wounded back to UAE. Unless, of course, as the Cole wounded were, they were flown up to Ramstein after initial treatment in Djibouti. Same thing there, but the National had the story. I am biased in favor of the UAE reporter.
I have a little ongoing occasional study project about the question of a hit from offshore launched from, say, something like a freighter or scallop dragger, on an American nuclear plant. Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station is a twin reactor 25 miles south of Miami near Homestead. It is the sixth largest in the US. It serves the entire southern part of Florida. It has some five different buildings plus stacks. It is not tucked away behind a mountain. It can be seen directly by radar out many miles over the Atlantic. It has a profile. This profile can be programmed into the computer of a missile. Old news. Just as the profile of a carrier task group can be programmed. The missile can pick and choose. A particular building could be hit at Turkey Point, or, say, a building at the nuclear plant on Hutchinson Island, near Ft. Pierce, from 120 miles out. Soon this will be two hundred plus miles. And then what?
At Point Lapreau Nuclear Generating Station near St. John, in New Brunswick, Canada, the nuclear plant is also perched by the sea, its profile is plainly visible by eye, by Big Eyes, and by radar for miles off shore. There are others. This might seem like a crazy comment, but I don’t see how nuclear power plants can ,in near future, be safely operated along the ocean’s edge. They are simply too vulnearble to what is now possible.
In France, there are six nuclear plants side by side off the Pas de Calais. Greenpeace has presented the scenario of a jet passenger plane sucide attack there. I think the awareness of vulnerabilities of French nuclear plants is what caused Sarcozy to make some very menacing threats to Iran some years back. If an attack happened, no matter what, Iran would be blamed.
I think the nuclear plants ought to be moved, or, at least, seriously hardened, which would necessitate a very big engineering project. But I don’t see how such a thing is politically or economically feasible. It won’t happen.
As to the threat of an attack on a tanker, LNG carrier, freighter, or warship–the threat is real, and it will not go away. The whole argument of Mahan about “choke points” has been upended.
Belay my question above. I found the answer on Wikipedia.
LeaNder, I see what you mean. I didn’t give the reporter’s conclusions very clearly. Roberta Pennington, of the UAE National, was told by witnesses, who were crew members of the gutted UAE- leased ship Swift, whom she managed to interview afterwards (no mean feat), that noone had died in the initial attack. She reported this. She said, further, that there had been a number of seriously wounded people. Her report, which I accept as being accurate, as far as regarding what she heard the crewmembers TELL her, conflicted with another apparently internet-originated report that stated that 22 crewmembers were killed. But her report also concluded that were only 24 crew members on what was obviously a new, very automated, modern ship, like these new container carriers. This conflicted with the number of crewmembers the internet report apparently stated.
So my conclusion was that no one was immediately killed.
Regarding my use of the word “slaughter.” You must have studied “semiotics” and Derrida? That everything one says is all too LOADED with personal bias? I simply regard that number of crew members being killed in that way as being exactly that, a slaughter; they were not combatants–they were asleep, I suppose–and therefore KIA would not be appropriate. The perpetrators knew the rules. As is said in prison, “You can die behind that.” Simple as that. This part of the world never heard of the Geneva conventions. I’ve set foot in that part of the world, and have travelled alone as a backpacker in some other of these places, including certain areas of the American south, where it has occurred to me that my life was worth nothing. (Speaking of Waugh, I just ordered his ‘Lawless Roads’, the Mexican book. Where one’s life, even to this day, can also be worth nothing.)
What I meant about what happened in Djibouti in 1976 was that noone was going to be able to keep the kidnapping of a school-bus full of French children by Somali insurgents secret from that small community, even if they wanted to; people will talk; and because I did not speak French, or enough, and did not want to bother people, I had been picking up nonverbal warning signals (body language, facial expressions,etc.) as I wandered at twilight through gritty back streets of this old rundown French colonial city (which I liked.) My analogy would be that if 22 dead crewmen were removed in body bags off of the Swift, it would have been known in Aden, or UAE, or Ramstein, and could not have been stonewalled and covered up, even if the UAE had wanted to suppress the incident. Again, people will talk.
I have been in Iran, would like to go back, consider the Iranians to be incredibly successful in USA and hope they can tone down the religion soon in the old country.
Did you ever hear the German hitchiker legend of the woman in the white Mercedes?
A couple general points: The USN has been keenly aware of the cruise missile threat since the attack on HMS Sheffield during Falklands/Malvinas. This led to a massive rethinking of the USN’s approach to damage control which had been largely derived from WWII experience. That probably helped USS Stark survive when hit by two exocets in the gulf. Note that aluminum superstuctures do not “burn”. Al does lose structural strength when subjected to intense fire. This was studied in some detail when the USS Belknap was run over by the USS J F Kennedy in the Med. From wiki sources, Noor / C-802 is a cruise missile with a rocket motor booster, and a jet turbine (3 stage axial flow) engine. It isn’t clear what mid course guidance is available, though adding GPS to existing designs is certainly possible. Terminal guidance is said to be active radar homing. I haven’t seen anything in the open media on the terminal tactics that might be available or programmed such as a pop-up or dive. Even without warhead detonation (might have some armor-piercing fusing) the onboard jet fuel can act as a accellerant which looks to be the case in the ex-HSV Swift (from what I see in the post-attack pictures).
Of course, countering missile threat is the whole premise for the USN’s Aegis system. DDG-51 class also was designed with steel superstructure to counter weaknesses in Al structures. Though the DF-21D is currently the biggest threat, at least on paper.
I think your friend in the coffee-shop gathering is exactly right. The USS Freedom Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) ought to be turned over to the Coast Guard in large numbers, as one of its many possible uses. I don’t know much about the LCC program, but I have uneasiness (which I have just made some comment about), as far as the protection of US and European nuclear plants out to the (now) necessary 200 mile distance offshore. I think you might have in mind the Wiki article which says: “In 2014 the US Coast Guard began advocating the Littoral Combat ship (LCS) as a tailor made platform for drug interdiction missions.” And it looks like that is exactly what they are going to do! Apparently out of Mayport.
I have thought for years that the US Coast Guard has to be expanded five-fold. (I know, I know, crazy again.) That includes helos. Do you know how few helos the Coast Guard has? It’s surprising. But what I am thinking, as the Wiki article says, is how useful the USS Freedom, with a possible speed of 54 mph, could be; and also with a complement of helos. As far as I am concerned, drug interdiction and homeland security are all one and the same.
Putting a surveillance and interception team out in the Atlantic, has some real problems, as for example, just staying five hundred miles out there weeks on end. It seems that the US Coast Guard has therefore decided on a very large, new type of “cutter”–a significently larger, surely stabilized ship. (Stabilizers being like oars which can be extended underwater out from the sides of hull in bad weather.) I assume it would challenge, possibly board, unknown and suspicious vessels by helicopter from a considerable distance in order to stay out of range of a missile attack. There could also be a dirigible up there. It seems to me that the USS Freedom is the kind of ship that could operate for a couple of weeks or so, in designated sectors out two hundred miles, in large numbers, forming a screen. Could also be a part of antisubmarine warfare screen.
I think a ship like the Lockheed Martin Freedom will have many uses! I also think it’s goodlooking. And I suspect that the real future Littoral Combat Ship will have to be a submarine.
Very interesting although bare-bones report from today detailing a first of a kind attack which took place earlier in the month in which ISIS successfully used some type of IED bearing drone far behind enemy lines near Erbil to target a group of kurdish troops and french special forces, a number of kurds were killed and french special forces wounded, with one still in critical condition.
I am reminded of a discussion earlier this year on here of the future potential for asymmetrical drone warfare, especially in the context of this immediate conflict, ties directly with topic being discussed here.
There have reportedly been a number of smaller Saudi ships sunk as well. The first story I had read indicated that a Saudi ship had been firing on a coastal city and the Houthis sank it with an ATGM from the shore.
Yes. I remember the thread. A combatant who has no air force will find UAVs to be a major game changer. pl
Well, there’s your Kornet in action right there. The missile was almost certainly a reverse engineered Iranian missile called the “Tosun.” It is an indigenously produced Iranian version of the Russian built 9M113 Konkurs, which is considered to be closely related to the Russian built 9M113 Kornet. I think the Tosun has less range than the Kornet in one config, but who is to say a Tosun clone of that one will not be out there soon?
Tidewater said to scott s.,
Thank you for your comment. I always thought that aluminum structures would burn! I found an article in the New York times “Navy Reverting to Steel in Shipbuilding After Cracks in Aluminum.” (August 11, 1987) which was also surprising. I didn’t know about the widespread cracking problem.
For a second I blanked DF-21 B, till I realized you were referring to the famous Chinese “Carrier Killer” DF-21 B. (“A legend before its time.” 🙂 Interesting that the ideas of how to deal with it have been being steadily developed over twenty years. And incidentally, I didn’t know that the Japanese Zero was a big surprise to the US Navy at the beginning of WWII.
Thanks for your thoughts on the LCS. I think you are right. I was talking to a Cutter skipper a few weeks back in Astoria Oregon. He and his crew do drug interdiction runs off the Pacific coast of Central America. He said his Cutter could not match the speed of the modern day cigarette boats the drugrunners are using and he rarely has a helo on board. He basically needs an advance tipoff so he can wait for them to come to him and then launch a high speed zodiac or two to run them down.
Sounds like an LCS would work great, although I am in the dark about range requirements. May have to base it in San Diego?
The death toll in Sanaa appears to be much higher than currently reported. An RT interview indicates over 700 casualties:
“The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Public Health and Population inside of Yemen, Mr. Abdulsalam al-Madani, told reporters yesterday (…) the number of martyrs are 458 dead people by the Saudi-led coalition’s missiles on the Grand Hall in Southern Sana’a. Out of these 458, there are 213 charred bodies; there are 67 torn bodies and 187 bodies with shrapnel. That is without counting the 356 serious injuries – that is a total of 700 killed and injured in one strike, which were actually three airstrikes – each airstrike with at least 3 missiles – we have it on footage – we have it on video image as well.”
They have a picture of the crowd inside the hall before the attack. The density of the people make these numbers plausible.
Also US State Department is down playing this incident (video).
“WASHINGTON D.C. (11:20 P.M.) – The U.S. State Department Spokesperson, John Kirby, claimed on Tuesday that the Saudi airstrike against Yemeni civilians in Sanaa was “different” than Russian and Syrian airstrikes in Aleppo.
The flustered Kirby then claimed the Saudis are not “deliberately targeting civilians” like the Russians and Syrians; furthermore, the Saudi Air Force is “investigating” the airstrikes.
Shockingly, Kirby then asserts that the Saudis are defending themselves against the Houthi fighters that are allegedly being armed by the Iranians.
Kirby’s comments were not only false, but also contradictory because his regime has supplied weapons to the opposition in Syria.
Moreover, Kirby stated that the exiled Yemeni regime invited Saudi Arabia to bomb Yemen, which is the same thing his regime attacks Assad for doing in Syria”
If I recall correctly, have lost about 8 ships so far. I did a search and came up with some.
28 December 2015, http://en.alalam.ir/news/1773661 (at about 2:30 of the video) I don’t think the rocket shown being launched is the actual one that did the damage.
26 October 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhqqCxOjhyI (doesn’t show the sinking but does show several lauches (1:50) that are similar to this latest one. So this isn’t anything new.
South front list as of 15 December 2015:
For several months now the Saudi-led forces have been trying to win control over the coastal regions near the waterway. The developinf of the battle is as follows:
On December 11, the Yemeni forces destroyed a Saudi warship in the Bab-Mandab Strait.
On December 5, the Yemeni forces targeted and destroyed a Saudi warship in the waters near Bab al-Mandab Strait.
On November 25, the Yemeni forces targeted and destroyed a Saudi warship in the waters near Bab al-Mandab Strait.
On November 15, Yemeni forces destroyed a Saudi-led coalition warship al-Mukha coast.
On November 7, Yemeni forces fired rockets at a Saudi-led coalition warship and destroyed it near al-Mukha coast.
On October 25, the Yemeni forces hit and destroyed another Saudi warship in Bab al-Mandab Strait
On October 11, another ship which belonged to the Egyptian army and named al-Mahrousa was destroyed by Yemeni missiles in the coastal waters near al-Mukha coast.
On October 9, Yemeni army and popular forces also fired missiles at a Saudi warship, and destroyed it in Bab al-Mandab Strait.
The warship was wrecked off the Southwestern coast of Yemen, in the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which makes the connection between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
That is a lot of Saudi sponsored reefs.
As follow on thought with regards to the list of sunken ships;
IMO, this proves that the attack on the US warship wasn’t by the Houthi Saleh group, they have shown that they have way more capability if they wanted to use it.
Concerning the German hitchhiker legend, no. Never.
Don’t worry too much, about the fact I dwelled on slaughter. I choose it in as some type of anchor in a passage I didn’t understand. Fact is, I simply didn’t get it. Thanks, Tidewater.
Apologies if you have already seen this. USNI reported the Mason launched SM-2’s and a Sea Sparrow during the attack.
Scott S –
Aluminum does melt though. There is at least one CH-46 airframe skeleton with the skin melted away littering the jungle in South Vietnam that I knew of. Probably a UH-1 or CH-47 or two also.
There was a rumor going around for years that the CH-46 skin was made of Manganese. Not true I was told by an airframe mechanic recently. Although looking it up later, I note that many aluminum alloys used in the aviation industry contain elements of Manganese, Zinc and Copper.
Not sure what allays are used in Naval shipping. I sure would not want to be in a damage control party during a fire aboard ship.
USS Mason did not hit anything? pl
The article did not say whether the took out the incoming missile or whether it splashed short. I assume it is under investigation. They may not say. Could be to hide capability, or some will certainly think to hide failure. I have no clue.
Watch Kirby dancing ( or spinning )
Saudis’ apologist !
This article, cast suspicion on a Saudi naval vessel for the attack on US Navy DDG – persumably a case of mistaken identity – based on a deleted twitter item –
Russia cooperates with China to counter U.S. missile threat:
Russian rubber inflatable jet-fighter/missile-truck decoys, amusing:
Russian heavy bombers to Pacific region
Thank you for that. I can’t help underscoring what Bryan Clark “a naval analyst…and former aide to retired former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, said about the incident: “This is obviously a huge deal.” Referring, of course, to the performance of the Standard SM-2, Sea Sparrow (ESSM) and the interesting sounding “Nulka anti-ship missile decoy.”
Looks like they did:
Mason launched two Standard Missile-2s (SM-2s) and a single Enhanced Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) to intercept the two missiles that were launched about 7 P.M. local time. In addition to the missiles, the ship used its Nulka anti-ship missile decoy, the sources confirmed. Mason was operating in international waters north of the strait of Bab el-Mandeb at the time of the attack.
“Where is the neocon faction that wants to intervene more in Yemen of all places? What would be the motive?”
Not to intervene in Yemen per se, but argue that Iran did it so dialectic reasoning means we must attack them. An unwitting aid to this point, Tidewater makes the assumption that Yemenis couldn’t have fired the missiles on their own, so it must be Iranian help while not considering a man can be literate and capable even with a big chaw of qhat in his cheek.
From the article about the decoys:
This trick is another entry in Russia’s repertoire of deceit and disguise, known as maskirovka, a psychological warfare doctrine that’s becoming an increasingly critical element in the country’s geopolitical ambitions.
Where do they come up with these idiots? Hasn’t he heard of Operations Cascade and Bodyguard?
Or seen photos like this:
The British and our colonial allies were doing it back in World War 1:
And even the Americans got in on the act in World War 2
The biggest deceit of all? The New York Times is a “paper of record”.
A recent AP article from today:
“A U.S. military official says that for the second time this week two missiles were fired at a Navy ship in the Red Sea. Officials believe they were launched by the same Yemen-based Houthi (HOO’-thee) rebels.
The official says the missiles were fired Wednesday at the USS Mason. The ship used countermeasures, but neither missile got near the ship and there were no injuries.
The official says the missiles were fired from the Yemen coast, which is near the location used Sunday when two missiles were fired at the USS Mason and the USS Ponce. The official was not authorized to discuss the incident publicly, so spoke on condition of anonymity.
U.S. officials have said the U.S. is weighing what military response it should take against the rebels.”
Thank God for anonymity.
Looks like the attack on the destroyer was a friendly attack by the Saudis >
They thought they were striking an Iranian vessel carrying arms to the Houthis:
Hours B4 US announce that American ships came under fire,Saudi journo tweeted: RSNF has targeted an “Iranian vessel” carrying arms 4 Huthis.
If someone is trying to goad the U.S. into attacking the Houthis and take attention away from the Saudi, funeral airstrike they certainly know how to push our buttons.
I watched a segment on FOX where the Capt of the USS Cole said, to the delight of the FOX host, that we should provide the Saudis with SIGINT to destroy Houthi missile installations and use drones to attack specific Houthi targets. The segment could have been named ‘Iran attacks U.S. navy’ because they just wove this story into the Persian Gulf encounters. The officer fumed that Iran was supplying the Houthis with the missiles and know-how.
This is a sloppy assertion because we have never intercepted a shipment of missiles near Yemeni waters. The closest thing were a few anti-tank rockets but those are not anything close to a ballistic or cruise missile.
I have no idea who ‘they’ are. I am just commenting on our reaction to the attacks. It is interesting that the Houthis are denying it because they were more than happy to take credit for all of the ballistic missile attacks on the KSA.
This is an off the cuff question. I see interviews and read articles and it seems like the navy guys are a hyper-aggressive lot. When I see and read articles from army guys I see mixed temperaments. Is there anything to this observation or am I suffering from a small sample size? Just curious. I know that this officer was on a ship that suffered an explosion and that would rattle anyone but that had nothing to do with Iran.
Derrida did not go far enough; the dead, the maimed, the wounded, the raped, the butchered are all documents of 20-th century.
the second missile attack on the Mason &
the Borg opens the first salvo for American boots in the Yemen.
“Michael Knights, an expert on Yemen’s conflict at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said the missile attacks appeared to be the Houthis’ response to an attack last weekend, widely blamed on Saudi-led forces, on mourners gathered in Yemen’s Houthi-held capital Sanaa.
“Targeting U.S. warships is a sign that the Houthis have decided to join the axis of resistance that currently includes Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran,” Knight said.”
“axis of resistance”– one thing that the Borg really finds exciting.
could it be that the Saudis are finding their adventure too expensive to continue?
for the community, does this make any sense to the experts?
or is the Borg flailing?
“The rebels appeared to use small skiffs as spotters to help direct a missile attack on the warship, said U.S. officials, who are not authorized to speak publicly because the investigation is ongoing.
“The United States is also investigating the possibility that a radar station under Houthi control in Yemen might have also ‘painted’ the USS Mason, something that would have helped the Iran-aligned fighters pass along coordinates for a strike, said the officials. ”
small skiffs, axis of resistance, what is next — suicide swimmers with RPGs down their pants?
Wised Up Early –
My two cents: A destroyer is not a supertanker with a high superstructure. I would assume with the Mason’s low profile that she was too far from shore for a spotter to accurately get a coordinate fix, or perhaps to even see her. So a missile launch would need a tipoff somehow. Could be skiffs, plenty of fishermen and coastal trade in that area. I recall that in the past some Somali pirates went several hundred miles off shore in skiffs. So that is not out of the question. Could be a radar tip off. Or it could be _____???
The U.S. fired cruise missiles on Yemeni radar stations. Wonder how many of those were still alive.
There is no confirmation, not even a tiny bit, that the CENTCOM claim that missiles were fired at the ship are true. The Houthis deny such an attack and I find no plausible reason of why the would do such an attack.
Which leaves the questions.
Didi it happen?
Was it a false flag attempt? (Saudis, UAE , AQ (aka Saudi proxies)?
Was it a Gulf of Tonkin fake?
How much did Google search activities for “Marine barracks” increase?
It’s a variatin of the Gulf of Tonkin. Have the same US ship “attacked” a couple of times so that an act of aggression can be disguised as an “appropriate response”. The United States yet again demeans itself by doing the dirty work the Saudi and Emirates seem too incmpetent of doing.
THE FOOLS IN CONTROL DON’T OPPOSE AQ OR ISIS. I’m sorry to scream but I’m tired of the disinformation aka LIES!
Perhaps the Saudis fired at our ship to draw us in to defend their criminal asses.
I believe the Houthis!
The old Oded Yinon plans live on. Yemen was a target then and now.
Like what Israel is doing to Gaza. Who learned from whom?
The Times article started with inflatable planes — which might have the uncomfortable connotation that Russian military strength is overestimated — and then jumped to the possibility of soldiers out of uniform leading attacks. Great fuel for the imagination, and film scripts. When is the next version of Red Dawn coming out?
article in Washington Post shows photo taken from video of what is purported to be remains of one of the radar stations destroyed by Tomahawks. Location is said to be Hodeida, Yemen.
Google maps says that Hodeida has (had?) an international airport so the presence of a radar station in not unexpected.
If anti-ship missile batteries were used, wouldn’t the radar guidance systems be truck mounted? fire the missiles than get the hell out of Dodge ’cause you would expect the Mason to immediately return lethal fire.