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GB News
GB News
16 Dec 2023


NextImg:Royal Navy Sea Viper missile shoots down attack drone in Red Sea

The Royal Navy ha shot down a suspected attack drone in the Red Sea which was thought to be planning to target merchant shipping.

It is the first time in decades that the Royal Navy has shot down an aerial target in anger.

Defence secretary Grant Shapps said the drone was shot down after the UK sent a ship to the region in an effort to bolster maritime security.

The HMS Diamond, the Type 45 destroyer that shot down the suspected drone, was only sent to the region two weeks ago.

HMS Diamond

The HMS Diamond was only sent to the region two weeks ago

PA

“One Sea Viper missile fired and successfully destroyed the target”, Shapps said in a statement.

“The ship recently arrived in the region to bolster international efforts to maintain maritime security.

“The recent spate of illegal attacks represent a direct threat to international commerce and maritime security in the Red Sea.

“The UK remains committed to repelling these attacks to protect the free flow of global trade.”

Earlier this month the US military said the Bahamas-flagged Unity Explorer, owned by a UK company, was among three commercial vessels targeted in an attack by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

The Ministry of Defence has not said who was behind the most recent attack.

On Friday Maersk, the world’s biggest shipping company, told all its vessels planning to pass through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait in the Red Sea to “pause their journey until further notice” after a missile attack on a Liberian-flagged cargo ship.

The incident is believed to the first time the Royal Navy has shot down an aerial target in anger since the First Gulf War in 1991.

First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Ben Key said: "One sixth of the world’s commercial shipping passes through the Bab-al-Mandeb Strait and Red Sea.

"HMS Diamond deployed at short notice to the region from Portsmouth just two weeks ago and is already delivering effect together with our American, French and other allies and partners.

"The Royal Navy is committed to upholding the right to free use of the oceans and we do not tolerate indiscriminate threats or attacks against those going about their lawful business on the high seas."