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2018-07-29 Arabia
Did the Houthis sink a warship or hit an oil tanker?
[AsiaTimes] Mystery surrounds alleged rebel attack on Saudi ship in critical Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

Saudi Arabia has suspended its oil tanker transits through the Red Sea after one of them reportedly was hit by Houthi fire. According to some reports the damaged tanker, which did not leak oil, was being taken to a nearby Saudi port for repairs. Kuwait is also likely to suspend oil-tanker transits through the Bab el-Mandeb strait.

The Houthis are fighting Saudi-led coalition forces for control of the strategic Red Sea port city of Hodeida. Hodeida, which is near the Bab-el-Mandeb, is a strategic city for Yemen. More than 70% of its imported supplies, including famine relief and medical aid, flow through the port. For the Saudis and their allies, controlling the port is important in order to stop the Yemeni rebels from affecting the movement of tankers as they carry Persian Gulf oil though the Red Sea and the Suez Canal over to Europe and United States’ east-coast refineries. The Bab-el-Mandeb strait is only 29 kilometers wide.

The Houthis say that the Saudi claim that oil tankers were attacked is a deliberate provocation and while they did launch an attack it was against Saudi warships off the coast of Hodeida. Houthi leaders claim their forces sank a Saudi warship, identified as a French-built Lafayette-class frigate called Al-Damman.

The Houthis are sensitive that any attack on an oil tanker would be a provocation that would undermine Iran as much as Saudi Arabia, and Iran is their principal sponsor, providing most of their military arms. The conflict between Yemen and the Saudi-led coalition (which basically means Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) in its essence is a fight over whether Yemen will be controlled by Sunni or Shiite forces.

Lafayette-class frigates operate with different naval forces including those of France, Singapore and Taiwan.

Al-Damman (Hull 816) is one of three modern, heavily armed frigates operated by the Royal Saudi Navy. The other two are named Al-Riyadh (Hull 812) and Al-Makkah (Hull 814). All three of these frigates (Al-Dammam was delivered in 2004) have stealth characteristics including low-power diesel engines and a special heat-dissipation system. The ships’ engines sit on sound-absorbing mounts, and the ship itself is partially demagnetized to protect it from magnetic mines.

In the narrow Bab el-Mandeb, the stealth features might prove less useful, since the ships would be visible from the shore and could be targeted with line-of-sight weapons. Alternatively, Al-Damman could have been hit by Houthi drones carrying high explosives. Whether a single drone, or for that matter a single missile, would be able to destroy the Damman is an open question.
Lots more speculation and background at the Asia Times link
Posted by 3dc 2018-07-29 00:00|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [351 views ]  Top
 File under: Houthis 

#1 Tangential to the subject, but quite interesting paragraphs from the article in light of the concern in Israel about explosive drones coming out of Gaza:

The Houthis also have drones, including a suicide drone, the Qasef-1 (Striker), which the Houthis claim to manufacture. The Qasef-1 carries 30 kilograms of high explosives and is a version of the Iranian Abibil-3 drone. Most analysts say that the Qasef-1 is manufactured in Iran and is stuffed with the same equipment as the known Iranian versions.

The Iranians have used the Abibil-3 (Swallow) in Iraq, Sudan, Syria and Lebanon, and have supplied them to Hezbollah and to Hamas in Gaza. The drone itself is a hodgepodge of parts, some of them American, some Asian. The engine is a two-cylinder DLE-222 made in China but widely available worldwide, even from eBay (price US$1,649.99 with free shipping).
Posted by trailing wife 2018-07-29 10:01||   2018-07-29 10:01|| Front Page Top

#2  What's the difference between a suicide drone and a cruise missile?
Posted by Anguper Hupomosing9418 2018-07-29 13:39||   2018-07-29 13:39|| Front Page Top

Tower Hobby: DLE-222 $1649.99
Posted by 3dc 2018-07-29 14:39||   2018-07-29 14:39|| Front Page Top

#4 A suicide drone doesn't come from a cost plus defense contractor like a cruise missile does? Also $500K to $3M price difference?
Posted by 3dc 2018-07-29 14:41||   2018-07-29 14:41|| Front Page Top

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