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UK: Royal Navy's destroyer HMS Diamond shoots down Houthi drones with costly Sea Viper missiles.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by the UK MoD on January 9, 2024, the Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond along with US warships successfully repelled the largest attack from the Iranian backed Houthis in the Red Sea.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Image taken from the bridge of HMS Diamond, seen here firing her Sea Viper missiles in the Red Sea. (Picture source: UK MoD)

The Sea Viper system, integral to the Type 45 destroyer's arsenal, consists of the Aster missile family, with variants like Aster 15 and Aster 30. These missiles are lauded for their agility, accuracy, and swift interception capabilities.

Central to the Sea Viper's efficacy are its multifunction radar, SAMPSON, and the SYLVER vertical launching system, enabling rapid and reliable target acquisition and engagement.

Technical Considerations in Engaging Drones

Utilizing high-value missile systems like the Sea Viper against relatively inexpensive drones raises questions of proportionality and cost-effectiveness.

The Sea Viper is engineered for countering sophisticated aerial threats, such as advanced manned aircraft and ballistic missiles. Engaging simple, cost-effective drones with these advanced missiles might seem an imbalance in terms of military spending and tactical resource allocation.

Naval Warfare Implications

This event emphasizes the evolving landscape of naval threats, where traditional focus on surface and sub-surface targets has expanded to include aerial threats from unmanned drones.

Future Defense Strategies

Navies might need to explore more economical and efficient solutions for countering simpler threats like drones. This could involve the integration of electronic warfare tactics to disable drones, the development of laser defense systems, or the deployment of specialized, lower-cost anti-drone missiles.

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