First Combat Deployment of Aster 15 Missiles from French Frigate to Counter Drones Off Yemen

This also marks the first actual air defense engagement of a FREMM frigate
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  • 11:25 AM, December 12, 2023
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First Combat Deployment of Aster 15 Missiles from French Frigate to Counter Drones Off Yemen
FREMM frigate Languedoc deploys Aster 15 to shoot down enemy drones @French Navy

The French Navy's FREMM frigate Languedoc deployed the Aster 15 surface-to-air missiles in combat to shoot down hostile drones off Yemen, marking the first engagement of the missile system manufactured by MBDA.

The event unfolded during a routine patrol mission in the Red Sea, where two drones suspected to have originated from Yemen targeted the multi-mission frigate. In a swift and calculated response, the Languedoc Frigate successfully utilized the Aster 15 missiles for self-defense, neutralizing the imminent threat.

French Minister of the Armed Forces, Sebastien Lecornu, announced the achievement during a scheduled hearing at the French Senate, revealing that two drones, deliberately identified as originating from Yemen, targeted the multi-mission frigate Languedoc during its patrol mission in the Red Sea. The frigate, operating under the authority of the Admiral for the Indian Ocean based in Abu Dhabi, was engaged in a maritime security mission in an area with approximately 20,000 ships transiting annually, including numerous French vessels.

In response to the imminent threat, Minister Lecornu disclosed that the Languedoc Frigate successfully employed Aster 15 missiles in self-defense. The missiles were launched to destroy the two drones, ultimately ensuring the protection of both the vessel and its crew.

This marks the first operational use of the Aster 15 missile and the initial air defense involvement of a FREMM frigate.

The Aster family of missiles, originally designed to counter supersonic anti-ship missiles, has seen widespread adoption by the Marine Nationale, Royal Navy, and Italian Navy. With over 100 Aster missiles fired to date, the successful combat deployment by the Languedoc Frigate highlights the evolving threats faced by naval forces in contemporary conflict zones. The Aster 15 missiles, launched from vertical launch systems (VLS), have a range of approximately 30 kilometers and a speed of MACH 3 (3700 km/h). Designed for self-defense, these missiles are capable of effectively countering various threats, including fighters and supersonic anti-ship missiles, even sea-skimming ones.

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