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USS Mason Fired 3 Missiles to Defend From Yemen Cruise Missile Attack


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The fact that the US Navy chose to hit three (presumably fixed) coastal radar sites leads me to wonder whether the Houthis (perhaps with more than a little help) are avoiding use of the radar integral to the C-802/Noor TEL, and instead exploiting the use of the target cueing available from the coastal radar sites to employ a little 'shoot and scoot' tactics. TELs are tough enough to find, tougher still if they do nothing to advertise their presence until the missiles are launched.

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So we're starting to see hints about the location of the actual intercepts (12 miles, 9 miles, 8 miles) from the ship. Also an interesting 90 seconds to make a decision set of hints. This certainly suggests AEGIS wasn't on full auto, not that I can imagine full auto being an option in the rather confined area.

 

Has more information emerged, such as how many SAMs were fired per incoming, which SAMs (practically at ESSM range there, wouldn't have to be SM-2)?

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So we're starting to see hints about the location of the actual intercepts (12 miles, 9 miles, 8 miles) from the ship. Also an interesting 90 seconds to make a decision set of hints. This certainly suggests AEGIS wasn't on full auto, not that I can imagine full auto being an option in the rather confined area. Has more information emerged, such as how many SAMs were fired per incoming, which SAMs (practically at ESSM range there, wouldn't have to be SM-2)?

 

Things to consider ...

 

The Bab al-Mandab is only 16.2 nm wide, so a ship in the middle would be only 8.1 nm from the coast.

 

There is reference to the Mason being 30 miles from the attacker, so one can safely assume they were either north or south of the chokepoint in a wider part of the strait (I am thinking north, closer to Al Hudaydah).

 

Three missiles (two SM-2MR, probably Block IIIB, and an ESSM, RIM-162A) were launched at the two missiles used in the initial attack. I would assume two SM-2MR (one per target) to start, and then the ESSM in follow-up. (Noting that it is suggested one of the attacking missiles fell into the sea, possibly prior to intercept).

 

SM-2MR Block IIIB max range about 50 nm and RIM-162A ESSM max range about 30 nm, but these values would not be directly applicable to a sea skimming missile like C-802/Noor fired from the clutter of a coastal launch site.

 

C-802/Noor, traveling at 520 kt, would cover 30 miles in about ... you guessed it ... 1 minute 52 seconds (112 seconds).

 

By the time you factored in detection time and response time, I would hazard a guess that 90 seconds is about right.

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False Alarm May Have Triggered U.S. Navy Warship's Missile Defense System (Military Times)

 

Suggests Aegis was on automatic. The 'false alarm' may have been a failed antiship missile launch (who knows what condition these missiles or their launch systems, especially as one or more may have already fallen into the sea before intercept) or some other rocket or missile activity.

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