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Houthis unveil new Toofan-1 Unmanned Surface Vehicle for naval warfare.

According to information published by Tasnim Arabic on 1, the Houthi movement in Yemen has recently unveiled a new unmanned surface vehicle (USV), named "Toofan-1.
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Toofan-1 Unmanned Surface Vehicle. (Picture source: Houthi mouvement)

This new addition to their naval capabilities is intended to target both military and commercial vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The development was showcased in a video released by the group's media arm.

The Toofan-1 is characterized by its V-shaped hull, which enhances speed and maneuverability. It can be operated both remotely and manually, and is equipped with a warhead weighing 150 kilograms, capable of reaching speeds of up to 35 knots. The video also demonstrated the Toofan-1 in action, where it successfully attacked an abandoned ship, showcasing its potential.

Red Sea crisis

Since October 2023, the Red Sea has experienced heightened military tensions primarily due to increased Houthi attacks on commercial and naval vessels. The Houthis, a Yemen-based group supported by Iran, have escalated their use of drones and missiles against ships in the Red Sea, significantly impacting international shipping and regional security.

The crisis is deeply intertwined with the broader conflict in the Middle East, notably the ongoing war in Gaza. In response to Israel’s actions in Gaza, the Houthis have intensified their assaults, targeting vessels irrespective of their connection to Israel. These attacks have disrupted global maritime trade routes, causing several ships to reroute around the Cape of Good Hope, which adds considerable time and cost to shipping operations​​.

The Houthis employ various weaponry, including Iranian-made drones like the Qasef-1, Qasef-2K, and Shahed-136, which have been used in significant numbers. These drones are equipped to loiter and hit moving targets, complicating defense efforts by the international coalition led by the United States. This coalition includes multiple nations working to safeguard navigation through the vital Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a key maritime chokepoint​​.

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