Red Sea Trap. Expert Zimovsky: The US has lost missiles against the Houthis | In the world | Policy

Red Sea Trap.  Expert Zimovsky: The US has lost missiles against the Houthis |  In the world |  Policy

The United States, which has created the most powerful naval group in the Red Sea over the past few decades, is beginning to feel a “munition famine” – ammunition consumption has turned out to be higher than planned. The destroyers have to use expensive missiles against the relatively cheap Houthi drones and missiles. Carried away by “skeet shooting,” the Americans and their allies quickly depleted the ship’s arsenals, and their replenishment will take time.

Millions of dollars fly into the sky

American ships that carry out a mission to “protect” free navigation in the Red Sea are regularly subjected to missile attacks by the Yemeni Houthis, to which they are forced to respond. “Return fire” is quite an expensive pleasure – each launch takes millions of dollars into the sky. Let’s say a standard anti-aircraft missile-6 (RIM 174 SM-6 ERAM) used in a conflict zone costs the American taxpayer $4 million each. These are advanced weapons, such missiles can shoot down ballistic missiles in the atmosphere and hit ships at a range of 370 kilometers.

A cheaper option is the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2), which costs $2.5 million but has a slightly shorter range. The Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) costs more than one million dollars and is designed to destroy anti-ship cruise missiles and low-speed targets such as helicopters and drones at a range of up to 50 kilometers.

According to Western experts, the United States is now mainly using SM-2 missiles to repel Houthi air attacks. At the same time, they are forced to use them quite intensively.

In the Red Sea, the US has a shell famine

“The American squadron has already shot most of its ammunition while repelling attacks from Yemen,” said political scientist and military expert Alexander Zimovsky. — To repel Houthi air attacks, the escort of the aircraft carrier group uses SM-6 multi-purpose missiles, which are packed in containers for firing from the Mark 41 launcher; the Airlie Burke-class destroyer carries up to 90 such missiles.

Following the principle of “no matter what happens,” the Americans fire SM-6 missiles at any target detected by the Aegis combat system. It’s like shooting sparrows from a cannon. And this is a direct and rapid overexpenditure of missiles against insignificant or false targets.

Hence the need to retreat to the nearest bases to recharge. The pause that has arisen opens up the opportunity for Yemen to take unimpeded active actions in this area.”

The closest and only place in the Red Sea region for missile reloading is the US Navy base in Djibouti. The distance may not be the farthest, but, as they say, there are nuances. Firstly, the government of Djibouti has prohibited the United States from deploying missile launchers on its territory to fire at the Houthis, and the arsenal of American missiles there is quite small. So the reboot will most likely have to go to bases in Kuwait, which is much further away. Secondly, the straits between Djibouti and Yemen are quite narrow and are under fire from the Yemeni coast. The “walk” here does not seem enjoyable for American ships.

And the Americans already experienced this themselves when they almost lost their destroyer in the Red Sea, which “missed” the strike of a Houthi cruise missile and only at the last moment shot it down with a Phalanx CIWS Mk15 close-in anti-aircraft artillery system. That is, the US ship was less than one nautical mile away from destruction. This is another fact confirming that the United States really has problems with missiles.


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