Yemeni Houtis Switch from Air to Sea Drones for Red Sea Shipping Attacks

Sea drones can carry 10 times more explosives than UAVs and are harder to detect
  • Bureau
  • 11:31 AM, June 22, 2024
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Yemeni Houtis Switch from Air to Sea Drones for Red Sea Shipping Attacks
Yemeni Toofan1 sea drone

The Yemeni Houtis on Friday showed a locally-made sea drone named "Toofan1," that can carry a 150kg warhead.

The boat can reach speeds of up to 35 nautical miles per hour, allowing it to reach its targets swiftly and with exceptional accuracy. It also has high maneuverability, making it difficult for the enemy to detect and intercept.

The Toofan1 was used in the attack on merchant vessel, Tutor in the Red Sea on June 12 causing significant damage to freight carrier, Houti-affiliated media reported. In comparison, Yemeni UAVs carry less than 10kg of explosives and their launch platforms are re vulnerable to air attacks than USV launch sites.

The damage claimed from an attack by the Toofan1 USV has been corroborated by the U.S. Central Command (Centcom).

Yemeni Houtis Switch from Air to Sea Drones for Red Sea Shipping Attacks
Simulated image of a sea drone attack on a merchant vessel in the Red Sea

A Centcom statement said:

On June 12, Iranian-backed Houthis struck M/V Tutor, a Liberian flagged, Greek owned and operated bulk cargo carrier, with an uncrewed surface vessel (USV) resulting in severe flooding and damage to the engine room.

One civilian mariner remains missing following the attack.The crew abandoned ship and were rescued by USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) and partner forces. M/V Tutor remains in the Red Sea and is slowly taking on water.

Yesterday, Iranian-backed Houthis struck M/V Verbena, a Palauan flagged, Ukrainian owned, Polish operated bulk cargo carrier, in two separate missile attacks resulting in fires on board. One civilian mariner was medically evacuated due to severe injuries. The crew of M/V Verbena extinguished the fire and have resumed their transit in the Gulf of Aden.

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