The US Navy destroyer USS Gravely had a close call with a Houthi missile in the Red Sea on Tuesday night, US officials told CNN.
The officials said a cruise missile launched by the Houthis came within one mile of the Gravely, the closest one has come to a US warship. That means the missile got past the Gravely’s sophisticated Aegis defense system.
The missile was downed by the Gravely’s Close-In Weapon System (CWS), a machine gun that’s designed for close-range interceptions and is one of the ship’s last lines of defense.
The incident highlights the danger to US warships and Navy sailors deployed in the Red Sea to combat the Houthis. While a Houthi missile or drone has not successfully hit a US warship yet, it could just be a matter of time as the situation in the region continues to escalate.
The US launched more strikes against the Houthis early Thursday morning Yemen time, marking at least the 12th time the US has bombed Yemen since President Biden started his new war against the Houthis on January 12. US Central Command claimed the strikes targeted a Houthi drone station.
The escalations continued throughout the day on Thursday as CENTCOM said it downed a Houthi drone and destroyed a drone boat. Later, the Houthis targeted a British-linked cargo vessel, but CENTCOM said the missiles impacted the water and did not hit the ship.
Since the US and the UK launched their first round of strikes against the Houthis, the situation has escalated dramatically. The Houthis, officially known as Ansar Allah, began targeting American and British commercial shipping and have vowed their operations won’t stop until the US backs down and Israel’s slaughter in Gaza ends.
The US backed a Saudi/UAE-led coalition against the Houthis in a brutal war that killed 377,000 people between 2015 and 2022. During that time, the Houthis only became a more formidable fighting force and developed missile and drone technology that gave them the ability to hit Saudi oil infrastructure. A ceasefire between the Saudis and Houthis has held relatively well since April 2022, but the new US bombing campaign threatens the fragile truce.