US Navy Warship Shoots Down a Drone Launched by Houthis from Yemen

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USS Carney (DDG 64) combat systems coordinator console in the combat information center
In this image provided by the U.S. Navy, Chief Fire Controlman (Aegis) Kenneth Krull, assigned to the USS Carney (DDG 64), mans the combat systems coordinator console in the combat information center during a general quarters drill on Oct. 14, 2023, in the Eastern Mediterranean. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Lau/U.S. Navy via AP)

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Navy warship sailing near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait shot down a drone launched from Yemen on Wednesday, the U.S. military said, in the latest in a string of threats from Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

U.S. Central Command said the USS Carney, a Navy destroyer, downed the drone — an Iranian-made KAS-04 — which was launched from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen and was heading toward the warship.

The ship was operating in the the southern Red Sea and was moving toward the strait. At the time of the morning shootdown, the Carney was escorting the USNS Supply, a Military Sealift Command fast combat supply ship, as well as another U.S. flagged and crewed ship carrying military equipment to the region. There were no injuries to U.S. personnel and no damage to the ships, the command said in a statement.

The shootdown came a day after a Iranian drone flew within 1,500 yards (1,370 meters) of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier as it was conducting flight operations in international waters.

Navy Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, said that drone “violated safety precautions” by not staying more than 10 nautical miles (18.5 kilometers) from the ship. The drone ignored multiple warnings but eventually turned away.

“This unsafe, unprofessional, and irresponsible behavior by Iran risks U.S. and partner nation lives and needs to cease immediately,” Cooper said.

Iranian state television earlier aired footage from the drone that trailed the carrier, which included data suggesting it filmed the vessel in the Persian Gulf’s narrow mouth, the Strait of Hormuz, this weekend.

Aircraft can be seen on the Eisenhower’s deck in the footage. Iranian drone surveillance has become common when American aircraft carriers enter the Gulf.

Earlier this month, another Navy destroyer, the USS Thomas Hudner, shot down a drone that was heading toward the ship as it sailed in the southern Red Sea. It also was near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and it shot down the drone over the water.

The Red Sea, stretching from Egypt’s Suez Canal to the narrow Bab el-Mandeb Strait separating the Arabian Peninsula from Africa, is a key trade route for global shipping and energy supplies. The U.S. Navy has stationed multiple ships in the sea since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7, which has heightened tensions in the region.

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Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

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