Home » News & Analysis » USS Mason Fired 3 Missiles to Defend From Yemen Cruise Missiles Attack


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

USS Mason (DDG-87) fires an SM-2 during a March 2016 exercise. US Navy Image

USS Mason (DDG-87) fires an SM-2 during a March 2016 exercise. US Navy Image

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post used the incorrect name for one of the U.S. missiles used in the engagement on Sunday. The missile is the Evolved Seasparrow Missile, not the Enhanced Sea Sparrow Missile. 

The crew of a guided-missile destroyer fired three missiles to defend themselves and another ship after being attacked on Sunday in the Red Sea by two presumed cruise missiles fired by Iran-backed Houthi-forces, USNI News has learned.

During the attack against USS Mason (DDG-87), the ship’s crew fired the missiles to defend the guided-missile destroyer and nearby USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) from two suspected cruise missiles fired from the Yemini shore, two defense officials told USNI News.

Mason launched two Standard Missile-2s (SM-2s) and a single Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM) to intercept the two missiles that were launched about 7 P.M. local time. In addition to the missiles, the ship used its Nulka anti-ship missile decoy, the sources confirmed. Mason was operating in international waters north of the strait of Bab el-Mandeb at the time of the attack.

According to a defense official on Monday, Mason “employed onboard defensive measures” against the first suspected cruise missile, “although it is unclear whether this led to the missile striking the water or whether it would have struck the water anyway.” The official did not specify that the defensive measure was a missile fired from the ship.

USNI News understands, as of Monday, the crew of the ship was uncertain if the suspected cruise missile was taken out by an SM-2 or went into the water on its own. In the Monday statement, the Pentagon said an investigation was ongoing.

Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) on April 11, 2016. US Navy Photo

Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) on April 11, 2016. US Navy Photo

The second missile launched from Yemen hit the water without being struck by a U.S. interceptor, the Pentagon said.

Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis would not confirm Mason launched missiles to USNI News on Monday. On Tuesday, Davis told reporters the missiles coming from Yemen might have been intended to strike Ponce and that the U.S. “will take action accordingly,” in response to the findings of the ongoing investigation.

While the Pentagon will not confirm details of Mason’s engagement, the use of both missiles by the U.S. is, “very significant,” Bryan Clark, a naval analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and former aide to retired former-Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, told USNI News on Monday.

“It might be the first time the SM-2 used against an actual threat for which it was designed,” Clark said.
“It’s definitely the first time ESSM has been used… This is obviously a huge deal.”

The SM-2s – more than two decades old – were specifically designed to tackle Cold War cruise missile threats to a guided-missile destroyer, much like the ones Iran has presumably given to the Houthis in Yemen.

Last week a Houthi-launched cruise missile caused significant damage to the UAE-leased HSV Swift – an unarmed aluminum high-speed transport vessel used to move supplies and wounded in the region, UAE officials said. UAE is part of a Saudi Arabia led coalition that has fought against the Iran-backed Shi’a Houthis in Yemen since last year.

While U.S. sources haven’t confirmed the type of missiles, open source naval analyst and retired Navy Capt. Chris Carlson told USNI News on Monday the damage on Swift appears to be from the warhead used in a Chinese-built C-802 anti-ship missile (NATO reporting name CSS-N-8 Saccade). The C-802 is based on Cold War-era French technology.

Analysis of damage on HSV Swift by retired US Navy Capt. Chris Carlson. Used with permission

Analysis of damage on HSV Swift by retired US Navy Capt. Chris Carlson. Used with permission

Specifically, the damage on Swift indicates the missile had an explosively formed penetrator (EFP) warhead – a well-known feature of the C-802. An EFP expands on impact launching additional pieces of shrapnel once the missile has penetrated the outer skin of a target around its circumference.

EFP warhead blast pattern

EFP warhead blast pattern via Chris Carlson

While the guidance system is largely 1990s vintage, the C-802 carries a, “very damaging warhead,” Carlson said.

The attacks on Mason and Ponce follow an airstrike that killed more than 140 people and injured more than 500 during a funeral in Yemen. The Saudi-led bombing has prompted a review of U.S. support of the conflict fought between the collation and the Houthis since last year, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Prior to the Saudi strike, Houthi rebels have told Saudi Arabia and its allies — via Iranian state media — to stay out of Yemen, “territorial waters.”

However the Houthis, “denied firing at the USS Mason guided missile destroyer and the USS Ponce,” according to a Tuesday report from the Reuters newswire.

Davis told reporters on Tuesday, there’s no short-term anticipated change in U.S. posture in the region.

  • DaSaint

    Sales of Phalanx CIWS about to go up…

    But what I find interesting is that Aegis DDGs are carrying both SM2 and ESSMs. Did not realize that ESSMs were in some of those Aegis VLS cells. More than likely they’re using at least 4 cells for quad-packs, carrying 16 ESSMs.

    • Horn

      The SeaRam would be more likely to be chosen instead.

      • DaSaint

        True. Some will prefer SeaRAM. Others will view Phalanx as a cheaper fix.

        • Aubrey

          Reloads for SeaRAM take a lot of space.

          More rounds for Phalanx not so much.

          • sferrin

            Far more at-ready kills in a RAM (even a SeaRAM) launcher than a Phalanx. On the other hand Phalanx is far more versatile. Smart people would have both.

          • Layered defense systems. Engage with SM, then SeaRAM, then Guns, then CIWS. Its best to engage at the longest range. If you’re down to CIWS, its gonna be close.

          • Spawn_of_Santa

            To continue on, then M2, then M4, then fire hoses, then .45 ACP, then knives..then…. good solid kick to the warhead…

            😛

          • CIWS can store 1500 rounds in the gun mount. ROF is 3000 rounds per minute.

            You do the math. It takes quite a while to reload CIWS.

          • Horn

            The USN fears that the Phalanx doesn’t guarantee a hard kill anymore against bulkier ASMs. That’s why the SeaRAM was created.

      • sferrin

        Not if you don’t have any.

    • John Locke

      SeaRam is replacing Phalanx on all units

      • DaSaint

        Not that fast. And as someone already said, it doesn’t hurt to have both.

        • Especially when there are little boats “spotting” all around, you can send them a message with the Phalanx. A little burst 100ft off the bow and those rats will scurry.
          A Yemeni fisherman with ties to the rebels isn’t going to want to go anywhere near the swiss cheese cannon once it fires a warning burst.

    • Marjus Plaku

      that was a revelation, yeah. potential enemies on notice, never know what could literally pop out of those VLS tubes.

      • MikeH

        Hence the reasons that the Russians are calling Ageis Ashore an offensive system.

        • Spawn_of_Santa

          Russians are awfully whiney.

    • NavseaRetired

      SeaRAM and ESSM and AEGIS, all onboard the same DDG ! That’s what the 3 DDG’s permanently home-ported in Rota, Spain now carry. How’s that for true, Defense In Depth !

      • USNVO

        However, the whole reason they gave for installing SeaRAM is that their ability to effectively counter certain targets with AEGIS is limited when they are doing BMD stuff and AEGIS is focused off in space. So at times, the depth is not that deep.

        • Old Coasty

          That was an intern fix. The newest “Step” software will allow dual mode, Standard and BMD at the same time. The down side is that each domain will only have half of the single domain power and sensitivity.

          To over come this the new AN/SPY-6, for the Flight III Arleigh Burke class missile destroyers, fit approximately 3 times the transmitter / receiver blocks in the same space so that they will be able to scan with the same amount of power / sensitivity three domains of BDM – Anti-air – anti-surface (all the way to periscopes) that the SPY-1 has to do separately.

          This is not going to be cheap but it is a lot cheaper than having to have two ships to do the same thing, one to protect the other.

          If the CG and DDG replacement program takes too long or cost too much then it may be cheaper and quicker to back fit the SPY-6 to some or all of the current fleet.

    • Horn

      We’ve been putting ESSMs on the Burkes since Flight IIA.

      • DaSaint

        Did not realize that. Thought it was just the SM2 series and above.

      • USNVO

        I think the integration started even earlier, the Flt IIAs were just the first ones built with the AEGIS baseline required for ESSM. If I remember correctly, the first Flight IIAs deleted the Phalanx because they would have ESSM (The Phalanx was later refitted to all the ships of the class). In any event, all AEGIS ships were updated long ago with the capability as their baselines have been updated.

  • Theodor

    i’ll buy food instead of ASCM in case of famine, but it’s just me.

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    Hello game changer.

    • sferrin

      What “game changer” is that?

      • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

        Ok, it’s not then.

  • Mike Radecki

    it makes me wonder if the USS Ponce used the LaWS system on the in bounds.

    • sferrin

      No.

  • It’s a good thing Obama and Kerry completed their nuke deal with Iran, now we have the trust based relationships needed to prevent these misunderstandings.

    • draeger24

      huh?

      • Donald Carey

        “sarcasm” look it up ;-p

        • Poe’s ravin’

          Sarcasm: it’s harder than it looks. Remember, no post is too dumb for half the Kumbaya Kiddies to say it seriously.

        • draeger24

          let’s hope so…lol…it wasn’t a bunch of rebels firing those missiles….you can be it was Iranian Republican Guards….

  • John Locke

    This article says they used chaff:

    http://www DOT wearethemighty DOT com/articles/this-is-how-a-us-destroyer-just-dodged-2-missiles-off-the-yemen-coast

    but then it also says HSV-2 was hit by RPG’s

    • Curtis Conway

      I kept thinking soft-kill, then this story says RIM-66 & 162s were launched. Well which is it? I suspect, given the level of technology used by the Noor (a knock-off of the C-802 anti-ship missile) that soft-kill did it before the birds got there, but that’s just me. The threat of ASCMs and ASBMs are real and now being demonstrated in this specific case. Thank G-d it wasn’t an LCS. Soft-kill probably would have still saved the day, but a SEARam with a 25 lb Blast Fragmentation Warhead does not impress me.

      • Horn

        Better than a few rounds from a Phalanx.

        I agree with you, though. It probably was a soft-kill, malfunction, or human error that brought down those missiles. Remember, obsolete copied missiles fired by people who have no training with them. This is yet another reason why we need SEWIP Block 3.

      • DaSaint

        SeaRAM certainly impresses the USN. There’s always a place for a good sniper vs more robust weaponry.

        • Curtis Conway

          That is why they installed them on the BMD DDGs at Rota with an EMERGENT retrofit there. The dual SM-2 launch was probably “Last Salvo” doctrine, and the ESSM went off just as the missile went into the water seconds before the dual salvo arrived, but that’s all speculation.

    • Alex_Turco

      I would take WeAreTheMighty articles with more than a few grains of salt, in general.

    • Hugh

      Nulka, the hovering decoy?

      • Horn

        Yes. The Aussies made a solid decoy device.

  • sferrin

    Loosen up the straps on the tinfoil sparky.

  • Ray Flores

    two or three days later we fired missiles back.. too late no credibililty

    • Alex_Turco

      From what the article said, the ship shot at the inbound missiles. Not sure which article you read?

      • Ray Flores

        First news no mention of firing back and that the missile fell in the water. I said do not believe it if they did not fire back. Days later Oh yeah,we fired back. Well you missed with our multi billion systems. Take that crap back to the manufacture and get your money back

        • Spike Hirseman

          You are speaking nonsense, and appear to be incapable of reading comprehension. Quote:

          “Mason launched two Standard Missile-2s (SM-2s) and a single Enhanced Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) to intercept the two missiles that were launched about 7 P.M. local time. In addition to the missiles, the ship used its Nulka anti-ship missile decoy, the sources confirmed. Mason was operating in international waters north of the strait of Bab el-Mandeb at the time of the attack.”

          The missiles falling in the water could have been the result of a bad shot, the decoy chaff, or the direct countermeasures doing their job- there would be no way to tell without recovering the missiles that were shot.

    • John Locke

      You do know the first priority of the CO isn’t feeding the media and armchair admirals with instantaneous information about an engagement.

      • Ray Flores

        The CO sends out all the info Flash/Secret or Top Secret to the Top Brass They put out the info, but it looks like people wanting war are writing the script

  • Hard Little Machine

    Seems like a waste of a perfectly good C-802. They’re great against offshore oil and gas platforms and oil tankers

  • Metzger

    Jared, Loose lips sink ships.

    • Jared

      Pretty sure “Plane Jane” isn’t considered divulging national secrets. More details can be found on Wikipedia than what I’ve spoken about.

      • Fred Gould

        Or Ships And Aircraft Of The US Fleet

      • draeger24

        yep…amphibs are pretty poorly armed….I wish they would rethink having a DESRON asset in each ARG.

    • James Day

      Hahah this argument is too funny. Even general strategies that are just basically saying we want to win and want them to lose are being attacked with this ridiculous line of thinking. “Don’t let them know we don’t want them to win!” It’s all a smoke screen so that one can say, “I have the best strategy – I know more than all the generals – but I can’t tell you because it would make these famous generals I probably know very little about roll around in their graves.” By having specific strategies shrouded in generalizations or secrecy those strategies can be believed to be whatever you want them to be… while in fact likely being non-existent. Thank you for your service Jared and your comment it’s really cool to see history live in this context.

      • James Day

        And I think the Germans generals knew exactly what Patton wanted to do a great deal of the time. The problem was they couldn’t stop him!

  • Spawn_of_Santa

    Wait…so this was a French designed, Chinese Made missile that was sold to the Iranians who reverse engineered it and then gave to the Yemeni Rebels…..

    WOW…just WOW… that is about as big an indictment of the international arms trade as I’ve ever seen.

    • EricW

      Not quite the right sequence.

      The Chinese reverse engineered the French Exocet in the 80’s.

      They used what they learned to produce their YJ-82, also known as the C802

      They sold about 60 of them to Iran in the early 1990s.

      Now that the motors in those weapons are past their expected life span (they will often still fire, but burn unreliably), Iran has been giving them away to factions that they support. They have often integrated them with a truck launcher that looks like a shipping container.

      • Spawn_of_Santa

        That’s even better…just wow.

    • usakindatheart

      Clinton sold to the saudis sunnis military with weapons and got billions donated to clinton foundation and her dem campaign under false foundation set up in Canada. My dear, this has been going on for awhile. Watch the video clinton for cash it’s on YouTube

  • Bailey Zhang

    I thought the news is about SM-3 IIA interception test from the picture, but it’s not, I’ve wait for long time for the test… don’t fail me Raytheon…

  • Marjus Plaku

    the most reassuring part about this is that the USS Mason, her skipper/bridge and TAO/CIC operators were not sleeping and derelict but alert and on duty. assuming the Mason was in international waters as claimed that still does not leave a lot of time to react even against a subsonic threat. less than 2 minutes by my calculations. not bad from normal operations to general quarters, detecting, tacking, acquiring and firing off three missiles and decoys in less than 2 minutes to defeat the incoming threat.

    i know it should not be such a shock and novelty and i hate to feel this way but we can no longer take US combat proficiency for granted, unfortunately. i always worry if the present crop of US warrior commanders and leaders are as effectively trained, judiciously assigned and properly empowered to be able to fully master their responsibility, platform and domain. this is vital if we are to keep our edge and maintain our superiority, fully anticipating and countering any any all possible hostile actions/capabilities and enemy skills with our own.

    • WHOHE

      Imagine the loud warning alarm that went off when it detected inbound missiles.

      • Marjus Plaku

        the whole atmosphere and series of events that must have transpired on that ship give me goosebumps and such a rush to think about. the US military can be a beast when provoked and reacts accordingly. but even in the reaction there is only so much room for pride. we did not shell the shoreline/point of origin, launch air raids or missile strikes. we issue tough words from the obama administration, launch an “investigation” and probably ordered our assets in the region further back.

        i don’t care if they hit camels and rocks, some sort of kinetic based reaction was necessary and appropriate. inaction will only empower those that seek to harm us.

        • WHOHE

          Or it could be that we told saudi air force with their F-15’s to bomb the location? Saudi vs Yemen war is probably one of the quietest war I’ve seen/heard. Only time it makes news is when Saudi aircraft bombs and kills hundreds of civilians.

    • WinkyVonTrollStuffer

      You don’t need to be at GQ to respond to an inbound threat. The defending missiles were shot out probly at the same time GQ was sounded.

    • Jim

      The Aegis combat system is always up and ready and it can be fully automatic if desired.

      • Donald Carey

        Yeah – it does a real good job on airliners…

  • WHOHE

    Some of the russian fanboys are boasting that RIM-162 had to be used. What they don’t know is it’s not a Sea-Sparrow but Evolve Sea-Sparrow with a 30+nautical mile range. I wish they would have said how close the ship was to shore. Oh well… Not bad for a ship solo with no air asset (assuming) that could have detected the missiles at much further range.

    • Horn

      If the missiles were launched close to shore, then they wouldn’t have had that much time to intercept. The strait is only 25 miles wide.

    • Refguy

      Last I knew was the radar horizon is 20 no, so 30+ range of ESSM isn’t meaningful.

  • SargintRock

    Danger, Will Robinson!
    Danger!
    Gulf of Tonkin Alert!!
    Danger!

  • redleg500

    Although she does have the first operational laser on board.

    • allbuss84

      That is too weak to do anything useful at this point…

      • redleg500

        True. That’s not what the laser is for

      • William Barnett

        I can read that you have little or no knowledge of the state of art for current laser technology.

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    Do you understand how this civil war started?

  • ulises velez

    THIS TYPE OF ATTACK ARE PLANED TO INCREASE THE TENSIONS. SIMILAR OF THE ATTACK TO USS-MADDOX IN EARLY VIETNAM WAR.

  • jon spencer

    Ok, the inbound missiles were defeated, where was our counter-battery fire?

  • The Plague

    Two SM-2’s and one ESSM fired? Hmmm, we have a very poor “description” of the engagement, but it would be more intuitive to fit these facts with this scenario :
    – Two bogeys inbound from long-range => two SM-2’s fired to counter them.
    – Third bogey popped up closer in => one ESSM fired to counter that one. What could that have been?
    If one of the C-802’s had slipped by its SM-2 then I think more than one ESSM would have been fired on it, just to be on the safe side.

  • RobM1981

    As long as nobody commits an Act of War against us, Barack Obama will use diplomacy to handle it. James Taylor has his guitar and is not afraid to use it.

    Sleep well, people. With people like Obama, Kerry, Clinton, and Kaine at the helm, what could go wrong?

  • TrustbutVerify

    Doesn’t the Ponce have the LAWS laser system on it? Is that possibly what was used and they don’t want to admit it?

    • John Locke

      Did the missiles impact within the lasers line-of-sight/engagement zone?

      • TrustbutVerify

        No info, obviously, but turning the ship to unmask the weapon is not a foreign concept to the Navy I think.

        • John Locke

          In the case of lasers it makes a difference as they are line-of sight weapons/sensors and with the C-802 being a sea skimmer the engagement zone would be kind of tight, the height of the laser also being a factor is understood.

  • @USS_Fallujah

    What’s the cost exchange of two SM-2 & an ESSM vs 2 -802s? And they can’t even confirm they hit 1.

    • Horn

      I’d say less than a $2 billion warship and hundreds of lives. You’re looking at this after the fact. When you detect an incoming threat that close, you’ve got seconds to decide on your actions. They had no way of knowing what kind of missile was launched at them in that amount of time. First job of an officer is to protect the ship and crew.

      • @USS_Fallujah

        That’s absolutely true, but the strategic consequences of “Layered Defense” must be taken into account. Even putting aside the dollars, if anyone can fire two antiquated ASCMs and get 2-3 SAMs fired in return (and we don’t know if any of the 3 actually hit an ASCM, 2nd -802 apparently splashed on it’s own and no confirmation #1 was hit by any of our out-bounds), how long before that DDG has to withdraw from contested sea-space to reload it’s magazine of AAW missiles? No admiral in the world is going to continue operations in harm’s way once his escorts have shot off their SM-2/3/6s.

        • Horn

          Warships are designed to operate in a war zone. Militaries understand the costs associated with that. If you can’t accept the cost, then you shouldn’t even be there. We’ve known the limitations of missile defense for decades now. Even techno-thrillers get it right that escorts can run out of missiles. That’s one of the accepted limitations and risks. How do you think a ship should defend itself against incoming missiles, or are you just complaining about the waste of money?

          This is the first time (I believe) that a USN ship has ever fired an ESSM or SM missile in self-defense. Now, the cost tradeoff is not good. But a USN ship engulfed in flames also looks bad. That’s one of the reasons the Navy is pushing laser development and electric generating capacity. Right now there are only 5 defenses to a cruise missile. Bullets, missiles, ECM, chaff & decoys, and dodging.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            But if you expend your magazine swatting flies you won’t be able to stay in the war zone to accomplish your mission. It’s looks like there was another attack on the USS Mason today, this time both inbounds splashed without beign engaged, either because they malfunctioned, couldn’t find a target, or we defeated with soft kill jamming. We probably will never know exactly.
            My point is that if you want to stay in the fight the skipper needs to be judicious about firing off his primary defensive weapons. He can’t fire SM-2s in salvos, as depending on the threat level posed by the inbounds he can wait to see if countermeasures work (or if the thing can even find him in the first place), then use the more numerous ESSMs at CIWS and save the SM-2s (and -6s?) for higher value targets. That takes balls, but you don’t get that 0-5 billet by being soft.

          • Horn

            That’s also a quick way to lose your command. There’s a fine line between ballsy and incompetent. The strait is only 25 miles wide. It would take a C-802 under 2 minutes to travel that distance. I’m sorry, but in an environment where you KNOW that you are most likely only facing a limited attack, you don’t wait nor skimp on missiles. I know doctrine used to say you fire two missiles for every one vampire. I don’t know what it is now, though.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            If the inbounds are being launched from less than 25m then it’s already in the engagement window of the ESSM. As we were told in training “don’t go shooting off your whole mag every time you see a bad guy, you’ll end up in a knife fight”

          • Horn

            And they didn’t. Three missiles for two cruise missiles. That’s 1.5 missiles per cruise missile in case your math is poor. How is that a waste?

          • @USS_Fallujah

            1 we don’t even know if they hit anything, and we do know they didn’t hit the 2nd ASCM, so at best it’s 3-1. That said we don’t know the engagement protocols, especially since we don’t know the relative locations of the Mason and the Ponce, so a SM-2 may have been appropriate. We’ll never know the details, but this engagement is indicative of the problem with USN’s “Layered Defense” which says engage early and often to avoid any possibility of a leaker, which quickly puts your escorts out of the fight against a determined enemy, even if they never score a hit, and the cost ratio of firing expensive interceptors to knock down any threat, regardless of the threat – which means that determined enemy can spend you to death with a small investment.

          • Horn

            You make it sound like that’s a static strategy. In this case, I see nothing wrong with it. With increased missile attacks (like today’s) then a different response is needed. If this were an actual naval war between powers, then the engagement protocol is different. Now you say this quickly expends the escorts missile inventory. I highly doubt the Houthis have 100+ ASMs, nor our military will just sit there and become a target without responding.

  • Crom!

    US ships are poorly armored and poorly armed. The LCS in particular are meant for these kinds of missions. I feel sorry for the crews that have to sail that tin can coffin.

    • Horn

      The amount of armor it would take to stop a missile armed with a penetrator cap would not be cost effective. Our DDGs actually have TWO different armor systems to protect their vitals. Kevlar spall liners to protect against fragmentation and double steel wall designed to protect against Exocet missiles. All armor is designed to do on warships now is to minimize damage to the crew and protect it’s vitals. They wouldn’t stand a chance to a direct hit from a modern warhead now. Only a CVN has that kind of armor.

      • James Bowen

        The Army re-discovered the value of armor in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think it is safe to say that in a naval war the U.S. Navy would have a similar re-discovery.

        • Horn

          You’re comparing apples to rocks. There’s a big difference between a 12 lb warhead and a 420 lb warhead, let alone a 1000 lb warhead. I don’t think a tank could survive a cruise missile hit. And again, our DDGs and CVNs HAVE armor. Only our supercarriers (or a modern BB) would be able to mount armor sufficient enough to protect against supersonic ASMs, and even that would be limited protection to vitals.

          • James Bowen

            It’s all relative. The Army used to say it “wasn’t cost effective” to armor personnel carriers and Humvees. They changed their tune when that was exposed as a major vulnerability. Should the Navy find itself in a real shooting war, the Navy would likely do the same. Shells fired from World War II battleships had comparable kinetic energies and explosive power to modern supersonic anti-ship missiles. If armor made ships more resistant to them, it would certainly make them more resistant to modern anti-ship missiles.

          • Horn

            You completely ignored what Lazarus just said. The USN did studies on this already. Also, our DDGs can withstand attacks by small ASMs like the C-802 and survive. Its armor is there for that reason, small missiles. But the newer cruise missiles would defeat even a battleship’s armor.

          • James Bowen

            World War II battleship shells were also capable, in principle, of penetrating a battleship’s armor. In practice, however, weapons don’t operate perfectly (they don’t hit directly, etc.), and armor affords considerable protection. Also, just because armor is penetrated does not necessarily mean the hit is fatal. More armor is going to increase the survivability of ships and make them tougher targets. Yes, this might be more expensive, but war is never cheap to begin with.

          • Horn

            Yes, an (effectively) armored missile boat would be great in a war, however, during peacetime it would be incredibly expensive to maintain. We are talking about an extremely large ship here, with limited berthing options, high crew costs, increased ship volume, etc. What you are proposing is just NOT cost effective, nor would it be worth the cost in protection. Money would be better spent on improved interceptors, countermeasures, and ECM systems like SEWIP.

          • James Bowen

            I am not necessarily saying that every ship should be heavily armored. What I am saying is that armor has been neglected by the Navy since the end of World War II. I agree that money would be well spent on those systems you mention. However, survivability and ability to take punishment and replace losses also need to be addressed. That is where armor for bigger platforms and large numbers for smaller, more expendable platforms come in.

          • Horn

            Carriers, cruisers, destroyers, and frigates have historically been the only vessels to have armor that translate to today. The large majority of our vessels have some measure of kevlar armor for splinter protection, which is about all you can ask for in frigates and smaller, as well as transports. Our CGs have limited kevlar protection. Our DDGs have amazing protection for a vessel of its size, especially when compared to similar vessels of other nations. Our CVNs are incredibly armored and their bulkhead system is impressive. The Navy has taken huge measures to maximize the survivability of our carriers. I don’t see where the Navy has neglected a respectable amount of armor outside of the CG and LCS, the latter of which they are correcting. You don’t slap on a ton of armor to a troop transport. That limits its entire purpose as a transport. And armor doesn’t do much of anything to protect you against a torpedo hit. Again, it’s not going to be cost effective until a major material breakthrough is made.

          • James Bowen

            I agree with most of what you say here. However, we probably could do a better job with armor protection on CGs (i.e. future classes of them). As for CVNs, their armor is probably about as good as we can do given the circumstances. What we are missing, however, is a type of ship that is tough, armored, and difficult to destroy. The battleships used to fill that function, and to a lesser extent cruisers. That is how it has been neglected. We have not built for survivability in the face of guaranteed losses.

          • Horn

            That train of thought would lead us to another Zumwalt. Great ships, but limited in number to the point of making little difference in a war. We can improve survivability in more effective and cost-effective ways than just adding armor.

          • MikeH

            A modern “real shooting war” doesn’t allow time to design, construct and launch new platforms.

            Run what ya brung

          • James Bowen

            Not true at all (unless it’s a nuclear war). If that were true, World War II would have been over on 7 December 1941.

          • Horn

            He said “modern.” The chances of us seeing a war directly between countries like the USA, China, and Russia, the EU, or other coalitions last longer than a year is difficult to imagine now.

          • James Bowen

            Nonetheless, it is prudent to prepare for such a war. Those major powers are the only ones that can truly threaten our existence. The powers that fought World War I a century ago thought the same thing.

          • Lazarus

            Armor is costly and add weight that could be used in weapons and sensors. The US did a study in 199o during the build up of Desert Storm to see if a battleship’s 12′ armor plate could stand up to a modern cruise missile. It was determined that while smaller cruise missiles could not penetrate a BB’s armor, they could cause significant damage to sensors, unprotected areas above the main deck and the 5″ secondary armament of the BB. Large, supersonic Soviet cruise missiles with shaped charge warheads were assessed as capable of penetrating the Iowa’s main armor belt.

      • Bill Befort

        This armor discussion seems to ignore the difference between kinetic and shaped-charge penetration. A shaped-charge hit that would utterly destroy a tank might have little effect against a target the size of a ship. And kinetic penetration against steel armor is difficult to achieve with a guided-missile airframe, even at supersonic velocity. Look at the massive naval AP shells of WWII and their sectional density.

  • Crom!

    I am sure the Chinese are looking very closely into this engagement.

  • Horn

    I feel like this needs to be said, but one of the reasons why it’s hard to confirm what killed the threat has to do with the kind of missile attack it was. If the threats really were C-802s, then that would explain a lot. The C-802 is a sea-skimming missile, usually traveling below 5m above the surface near the end of flight and is capable of maneuvering to avoid air defense systems. So any number of things could have happened.

  • Jack Atherton

    What were the rules of engagement? Why didn’t we shoot back?

    • Kev789

      If sea skimming and without regional surveillance we would not know where to shoot back. And it wasn’t’ necessarily a straight line from the launch point.

    • John Locke

      Gonna take a guess and say that the shooters are smart enough to shoot-n-scoot so by the time any other service eyes got in the general launch vicinity they could have rolled into a parking garage or some other cover. Wouldn’t have been too prudent to stick one of the units helo’s in the general location to spot what with the strong possibility of the shooters having MANPADS.

    • EricW

      It appears that the weapons were fired from a shipyard in the town of Mocha. It is quite possible that the launcher was disguised as a shipping container among piles of real shipping containers.

  • MattMusson

    Second missile probably crashed due to ECM from the destroyer.

    • USNVO

      Or it ran out of fuel, suffered an problem with its control system, or didn’t find a target in it’s search area. Impossible to tell without telemetry.

  • Matt Gurgel

    Bravo Zulu to the captain and crew, and especially to what sounds like an alert CIC watch team. Regardless of whether the inbound missiles were killed by Mason’s missiles, decoyed by Nulka/chaff, or flew into the ocean on their own, the fact that the crew engaged the threat in what was likely a fast-developing situation says a lot about their skill and professionalism.

    • mikekelley10

      Hopefully they’re not as demoralized as FBI agents are right now.

    • Fresh

      This was a phony escalation. Likud, the GCC, Neocons and NATO are blood thirsty pariahs. They’ve been spreading murder for decades, especially in the last 40 years.

      The Saudis planned this attack to distract focus away from their war crimes. And, the West doesn’t care, we’re making billions launder …., I mean, selling weapons. The only thing keeping Western economies floating is war.

      Keep following Neocons, it won’t end well. They just use Dems and the GOP against each other to carry out their insanity and people blindly follow. Wake up!

      • Andrew Sickafoose

        rofl

  • Wm. T Ford

    Did I read this correctly? The Mason’s crew cannot tell whether their missiles struck their targets? What does that say about general situational awareness or the efficacy of the Aegis fire control system? Were the incoming missiles detected via their radar signature or as a result of a lock-on by their seeker heads? In any event, shouldn’t a vessel as sophisticated as Mason be able to assess the result of the engagement? This incident is weird from start to finish.

    • Horn

      Please read about the limitations and difficulties with surface radar systems. Operations aren’t black and white. It’s difficult to distinguish a missile from waves when it’s traveling less than 20ft above the surface. See “radar clutter” for more information. Every system has its shortcomings, and this is one that is inherent in any surface radar.

    • Ken N

      I doubt the navy is rushing to make public the exact details of the engagement. Both the SM-2 and ESSM utilize SARH guidance and therefore rely on shipboard illuminators to intercept the target. They probably have a pretty good idea of what hit what.

    • USNVO

      Yeah, we should make sure that any adversary only launches missiles on a instrumented range with proper telemetry.

      To answer your question, No. They saw and tracked an inbound countact. They fired missiles which engaged the contact (probably only the SM-2s, the ESSM was probably a later shot and was no where near the target when it splashed). After said SM-2s intercepted the target, the missile then crashes into the water. Did the SM-2s hit the target? Maybe, if you don’t get a instant gratifying explosion, you don’t really know, it may have run out of fuel like the other one. Unless you are on an instrumented range you don’t know for sure and frankly don’t care, the missile was no longer a threat either way. I am sure when they analyse the radar information they will get a better idea but that is not something you do on the ship.

      As for your other comment, if the ship had not been able to detect the missiles on their radar they would not have been able to fire any missiles at them. Based on the number of missiles fired, the types, and the probably intercept ranges, I doubt the missiles ever got close enough to lock onto the ship.

      • Kev789

        I wonder if because of the short distance (I’m speculating here) to launch point, and short time to react, if the Mason launched the sm-2s, essm and decoys all at once instead of sequentially depending on results?

        • USNVO

          I doubt it, the numbers don’t add up. If the detection range is short, you would go with just ESSM and you would probably fire more because you would have limited opportunities. ESSM is much better against a sea skimmer target set which is why they carry both types of missiles. Alternatively, if you were presented with separate closing and crossing targets, you might fire SM-2 at the crossing targets and ESSM at the ones headed towards you. Again, you would try to fire the best missile for the target set.

          • Kev789

            Interesting, thanks.

  • MikeH

    Dunno. I’m quite the fan of Qatar and the Saudis arming ISIS with the knowledge of the SecState.

    Stay classy Hillary.

    • Horn

      FYI, ISIS was formed before Clinton became SecState, and didn’t start its offensive in Iraq until after she left. Food for thought.

      • allbuss84

        Last I checked Baghdadi took over the Islamic State of Iraq on May 16th, 2010. I’m pretty sure Hillary was the Secretary of State by then. They declared a world wide caliphate after Hillary left, but prior to that Hillary & Obama were calling them the JV team and doing absolutely nothing about them while they captured ground and murdered thousands.

        • Dustoff

          Not that it really matters, but ISIS came about during the 2003 Iraq war. Granted, we didn’t see much action from them.

          • lugnutmstr

            Remember all those C-130’s full of American money. They payed off the Sunnis to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars to stop killing Americans. And it all went into funding ISIS. The General that did that was Patris and the current Joint Chief of Staff. Oh yea, the current White House Chief of Staff was in on it also.

        • Horn

          That’s because at the time, the US government believed that the Iraqi military would be able to hold their ground. Can’t fight a war when the Iraqi government couldn’t get their act together. What you saw with ISIS was the US taking their hands off the Middle East and letting them defend themselves.

          • Dustoff

            You nailed it. NO matter how much we train and spend on them. Fighting is something they don’t seem to have the guts for.

          • Rapajez

            Well, it helps when you actually BELIEVE in what you’re fighting for. I’m sure plenty of them figured they didn’t have a dog in the fight, and high tailed it.

          • Spawn_of_Santa

            Part of the problem is that we initially mis-trained them for a different kind of fight and then had to retrain them. Plus we didn’t support the people who KNEW how to fight them, the Peshmurgha, for political reasons, which were completely stupid.

            Today the Iraqi Army is in a much better shape.

            Today the Battle for Mosul in in its very early stages, and there is no way that ISIS (I prefer the derogatory DAESH) can win. All but 2 of the original 44 DAESH leaders are dead. They’ve resorted to using children as suicide bombers. Since 2014 they’ve been pushed out of 17 cities losing up to 80% of its territory. They’ve also lost so much money that they’ve had to reduce pay of their fighters by 50%.

            The biggest concern is that the DAESH cowards will shave their beards and melt into the populace. Thus the care with this siege.

            Anyone who says we’re losing isn’t actually following what’s going on. DAESH is on the ropes. Which is why their leadership has fled to Western Libya – a no-man’s land that has been seriously mishandled, not just by US, (for faks sake, do we have to be responsible for EVERYTHING?), but by Europe as well. I’m not finding much about us attacking DAESH there since August when the USS Wasp was launching attacks on DAESH targets.

          • Horn

            ISIS is being run out of Libya as well. They just lost their last stronghold there. Trump’s an idiot when he says they have Libyan oil. ISIS has a presence in Libya, but it isn’t very organized or concentrated.

          • Here’s to all us DEPLORABLES!

            “The biggest concern is that the DAESH cowards will shave their beards and melt into the populace. Thus the care with this siege.”

            “Care”?
            For faks sake (to use your words) how can you use this term when we are telegraphing them the time and intent of our every move?
            Trump called it right in the 2nd debate – you don’t broadcast your plans to the enemy before the operation begins (unless you aren’t serious about capturing or destroying the culprits)..

          • helveticaregular

            DAESH is surrounded in Iraq, under constant bombardment. no need to “telegraph” our intent to retake Mosul, we’ve been doing that for 2 years.. they know we’re coming. Trump is an idiot. I think the military planners know a little more about warfare than someone who doesn’t read.
            Also, a very good reason for announcing offensives with plenty of advance notice in populated areas, is to allow civilians to get out! If we go in an inadvertently kill a bunch of civs we risk radicalizing a whole new generation bent on revenge against us.
            They can shave their beards all they want, but there is no escape, we know who they are, and eventually a drone will find them.
            Strategic patience is one of the most important tools in war!

          • draeger24

            no, what we saw was incompetent leadership and Obama making leaving Iraq a political issue…just as in Germany, Japan, and South Korea, we should have stayed for at least a full generation with a minimum of 20k persons and aviation support. The Iraqis were just starting to come around.

          • Horn

            The US-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement was signed by President Bush. Obama had nothing to do with it.

          • Here’s to all us DEPLORABLES!

            Bullchit. The SOFA (as US generals argued) should have been changed to reflect reality on the ground. The US had the negotiating power to twist the Iraqis’ arm by withholding financial and material support. You’ll have to ask Obama and Clinton why we didn’t.

          • Spawn_of_Santa

            Clearly your training in diplomacy is lacking. It wasn’t a unilateral agreement.

          • stephenverchinski

            So has been Hillary and every previous SOS

          • Spawn_of_Santa

            What?

          • stephenverchinski

            Lied like crazy to the Americancitizenry? Question Why were we the invaders of Iraq? Where and when did Congress do their job and declared war?

          • draeger24

            it was never signed.

          • Horn

            Yes, it was. You can easily look it up on multiple sources.

          • draeger24

            you just made my point….if anything was signed, it was NOT to keep troops there….Obama and Biden and Hillary FAILED.

          • David Holt

            Don’t confuse the Trump-heads with facts…after all, facts are just like Trumps words…meaningless…at least to them.

          • draeger24

            oh….another Hillary sympathizer…..LOL….she is a proven failure.

          • GTElmore

            The “Trump heads?”

            Wow. I musta’ misunderstood “All-American Barry” when he promised to end US involvement in these stupid, Middle-Eastern-corporate-wars and bring our forces home.

            So – “really” – it was TRUMP who said that?

            (Ain’t it funny how little “peacenik peckerwoods” like Obama and Billary Clinton get a taste for blood and “kinda’ LIKE it?” — just as long as none of theirs is doin’ the bleeding?)

          • Vuil

            Wow you really have drunk the Dem Koolaid haven’t you.

          • Horn

            No, but I have no party affiliation. I’ve voted for both a Republican and Democratic presidential candidate in the past. I go by the facts, and the fact is that an agreement to leave was signed in 2008 by President Bush, an agreement that both the majority of our citizens and allied nations wanted us to stand by. The Iraqi government believed that they were ready to handle their own security. We left and two years later Anbar fell. Both Romney and Obama would have been legally bound to follow the agreement. These are facts, not some political diatribe.

          • Reality: It’s not for sissies.

            The majority of our citizens want whatever the TV tells them to. They “know” whatever the TV says, having neither the education nor the inclination to spot the media’s lies.

            The Iraqi government wanted the US out for the same reason teenagers want their parents to leave them alone in the house over the weekend.

            Political power always flows to fill a vacuum. US out –> ISIS in. People who dispute that aren’t going to be talked into accepting it. They need to believe it ain’t so.

          • GTElmore

            Wow. How ’bout that?

            And here I thought good ‘ol “All-American Barry” was gonna get us and our forces OUT of the Middle East and end these stupid “corporate wars.”

            Guess not, huh?

          • Howard Newsome

            Under Bush there was no agreement in place to leave any troops behind because IRaq didnt want it. We should have stayed in their and insisted after spending all that blood and treasure ( of which i served) But Obummer ordered the troops out anyway.

          • usakindatheart

            Lol, your naive, they knew iraq was going to fall, clinton backs Saudi Arabia all the way, who has the money? $Saudis do, sell ammunition, military supplies to Saudi backed isil.
            Remember when obama would always call it isil, never isis

          • Mongoose

            ISIL happens to be a legitimate name.

          • Neo Maxie Zoom Dweebie

            First, ISIL & ISIS are both correct names.

            Second, “they knew Iraq was going to fall?” Is that why they trained the Iraqi army for years? Funded them and armed them with until millions in large and small weapons, vehicles, armored trucks and tanks?
            Because “they knew” Iraq would fall? They knew the entire Iraqi army that they’d trained exhaustedly on exactly how to defeat their enemy, would lay ALL lay down their weapons/tanks/vehicles and split, leaving the weapons for ISIL/ISIS…..
            BTW, where do you get your information? Or is that convenient opinion?

          • Josh Moe

            And if we had left our hand clawed in we wold have got our aszes slammed. Its a no win situation that Goerge Bush and his cronies put us in innit ??

      • draeger24

        uh no….it was formed after Obama took office, and grew because they did not sign the Status of Forces Agreement. WE should have been dictating terms to the Iraqis….Biden and Hillary blew it. Al-Baghdadi had been in Iraqi custody and was released. He formed ISIS which then spread during Clinton’s term.

        • Horn

          You’re really going to blame the Iraqi government and military’s unwillingness to defend their own land on the US government’s withdrawal? They wanted us out. The democratically elected government wanted us out of their sovereign nation. The Iraqis were on their own for 2 years before the Anbar campaign. You can blame it on a power vacuum or something else, but the Iraqis allowed this to happen in their country. And we as a nation chose not to help. Remember all those national polls showing that the majority of Americans didn’t want to go back to Iraq? Our government listened to the people. Sorry, that’s on Iraq.

          • bruceben9

            Bingo!

          • Josh Moe

            You are both wrong. Its on us. Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and the gang of friendly neighborhood neo-cons invaded Iraq on a false pretext. And left nothing but destruction in their wake as well as a power vacuum. And you have the gall to blame Iraqis ?!!!

          • draeger24

            no….we found WMD in IZ, and that was only one pretext to the invasion. We found 500 intact sarin nerve gas rounds, 550 tons of yellowcake which the Canadians bought, (see Rick Santorum’s testimony in Congress), found a ricin factory in Khurmal run by Al-Qaeda offshoot Ansar Al-Islam, found MIG 25 FOXBATS buried at the end of airfields with chem/bio canisters. Much of the WMD was taken to Syria and Russia three days before the invasion. Dr. Mahdi Obeydi, head IZ nuke scientist (and I heard his lecture several times) said that the centrifuges that he buried in his garden (technology stolen from the UVA nuke lab) were better than what WE had, according to the inspectors when he turned them over..(see “The Bomb In My Garden” – Dr. Mahdi Obeydi)…..so spare me the false narrative. Saddam was also harboring Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas as well as paying suicide bombers in Israel. WMD was only ONE reason we invaded.

          • Josh Moe

            You and who else believe this bull ?

          • draeger24

            try looking it up in the Congressional record….seems you don’t have much experience. Read his book. Try some research and try to refute the facts. It isn’t “bull”.

          • Vuil

            Is that how you deal with anything you don’t like. Just call it bull. What about some factual refutation?

          • Josh Moe

            There are a million dossiers online. Also, there is this awesome tool called Google. You should check it out … you may learn something.

          • Vuil

            Hey Moshy, you made the claim. Back it up. You made the claim. You provide the substantiation. Telling other to ‘go look on Google’ is, in effect, admitting you just sucked you claim out of your rear end.

            Everything about you smacks of ‘substanceless’. Pathetic. Classic dimwit.

          • Josh Moe

            What a dbag … classic neocon apologist … grow a brain dipsheet

          • Scott Kronstedt

            Josh, during desert storm a bunker sw of basra was blown by our engineers. Unknown to the engineers there were rockets filled with sarin and cyclosarin (WMD)s in the bunker. I know because I was downwind of the site, for many years after the war I would get letters from the DoD asking if I was experiencing any effects. and so did others that were in my troop. So the DoD knew Iraq had WMD’s, they would have told congress therefore everyone in congress that claimed “Bush lied” were themselves lieing becouse they knew better. Now you are repeating that same mantra. The facts were, Iraq had chemical weapons and wanted nukes (remember the Israelies blowing up an Iraqi reactor before it could go online and make fissionable material) both the Iranians and Kurds got gassed by Saddam, these are well know facts that are handily overlooked by the “Bush lied group” and they didn’t all get destroyed, very difficult to destroy, it took us 7 facilities and about 20 years to destroy our stockpiles and I don’t think the Russians ever managed to fullfill their treaty obligations to eliminate chemical weapon stockpiles, Chemical weapons are hard to dispose of safetly. so your statement about “neo cons invading Iraq on a false pretext” is false.

          • Josh Moe

            Whew ! Ok … so how on earth did he manage to get those weapons to begin with ? Or all his other arms ? Wasnt he our best buddy until he wasnt ? What about arming the Saudis to the teeth. These fcks mutilate people for something as simple as robbing a slice of pizza !!
            What about Pakistan ? Its the worlds largest terrorist factory, creating mayhem and unstability in Afghanistan and India aided and abetted by our very own cons and neo-cons !!
            How do you guys not see that our involvement in the middle east and our support of these nihilists created the very same problem we are supposedly trying to fix. We havent stopped yet. Anything we touch turns to dust. We have zero respect for anyones lives if they are not caucasian american !!!!

          • draeger24

            it doesn’t matter what THEY wanted – much American blood was spilled….and, they didn’t want us out – they wanted different terms which should have been negotiated. They were not ready to assume protecting their own very fragile country. Neither was Germany, Japan, South Korea, and even Bosnia and Kosovo, where we still have forces in ALL those countries. We weren’t “going back to Iraq…we were already there, and we should have had a force there and built a modern airfield in Basher and/or Sulaminayah to help the Kurds who wanted us to stay. It was a political move, period. Obama and Hillary as well as Biden wanted to “get out” before the election….it was a disgrace. We won the war, and they lost the peace.

      • usakindatheart

        Your wrong cause it wS called isil, the clinton emails from wiki leaks confirm it two days ago

      • AFalleurFREEDOM

        YES THEY WERE, AND THEIR NAME WAS, AND IS, AL QUEDA

    • usakindatheart

      Sarcasm right?

      • MikeH

        My comments are sarc. Hillary’s emails showed she was aware of the support and talked about pressuring them to end it but it was obviously very quiet since it never made the news.

        • chipper13

          Quietly Censored!

          • GTElmore

            So, uh – you were expecting the “actual news” from General Electric?

  • Ken N

    Unless they were at at GQ already imagine the petty officers surprise as he was sitting down on the VLS eating lunch…

    • Horn

      I doubt it. There had already been one ASM attack on HSV Swift. I would be very surprised that they would be that relaxed in the strait. That is a funny image to think about, however unlikely.

      • Ken N

        Were they just transiting the straight?? Otherwise I don’t see them being at GQ since last week. (not being a jerk..serious question)

        • Horn

          Patrolling since the attack. I don’t know what state they were at, but I would assume that nobody was shirking their responsibility.

  • Dustoff

    Ahhh how many wars do we have going on now. Not including Iran wanting a fight after obama gave them the cash to fund a fight.

  • Obama_Dogeater

    So…Obama just gave billions to his Iranian friends, who is funding these terrorists…thanks, Obama supporters.

    • Kev789

      In exchange for diminished (not to zero) nuclear concerns for 10 years we returned funds which already belonged to Iran, all per prior agreement.

      • Here’s to all us DEPLORABLES!

        I hope we didn’t give them interest. Uncle Sam never gives me interest if I overpay my taxes.

  • John B. Morgen

    Our warships should take offensive measures, and attack Houthi rebels before they attack us again. In other words, we should take a proactive stance and support our allies.

    • Fresh

      Our allies are terrorist supporting Monarchs who hate women and love slaves. They celebrate death and destruction, plus, they constantly commit war crimes. Likud, the GCC, NATO and Neocons are a threat to world peace. Stop cheering on these psychopaths.

      • John B. Morgen

        In your opinion, however, the United States [MUST] continue to support the Saudis and their allies during this conflict. The Iranian led conflict must be defeated in order to prevent an Iranian hegemony over the Yemen region because Western trade depends on open waters between the straits be protected from acts against free travel..

  • @USS_Fallujah

    Unconfirmed reports of 2nd attack with two more missiles, this time the DDG didn’t fire on the inbounds which splashed harmlessly, either do to malfunctions, lack of targeting capability or “soft kill” countermeasures. Hopefully this time we had ISR assets in the area to supply targeting information….

    • Horn

      Report confirmed by Reuters. Only details say the ships “fired defensive salvos in response to the missiles.”

      • @USS_Fallujah

        Thanks. Got a link? I only see Sam’s post on twitter.

        • Horn

          http://www (dot) reuters (dot) com/article/us-yemen-security-missiles-idUSKCN12C294

      • @USS_Fallujah

        “The rebels appeared to use small skiffs as spotters to help direct the missile attack on the warship. The United States is also investigating the possibility that a radar station under Houthi control in Yemen might have also “painted” the USS Mason, something that would have helped the Houthi fighters pass along coordinates for a strike, the officials have said.”

    • Ken N

      ASM’s 0-4 against AEGIS

  • WIVet

    Time for some cruise missiles in response… then send the bill to Iran for our inconvenience!

  • Spawn_of_Santa

    I’m separating Reagan’s TREASON from actual arms trade.

    That said, the Iranians DID reverse engineer the TOW missiles that Reagan gave them to create an even deadlier weapon.

  • Gert B Frobe

    All I ever hear about is our incredible fighting ships that can take on the whole world with one ship. We can’t even effectively return fire on some rpgs in a third world country? And the only excuse is “we don’t know where they came from”. Either we are comfortable being targets, or we have no where near the ability they say we do.

    • Fresh

      … because the military has become a money laundering vehicle. If we really did a full accounting, I’m willing to bet there are many systems that don’t work or are not relevant. Haliburton proved it decades ago.

      Next is the Border Industrial Complex. These companies can’t wait to sell the US government tools for border security. That money will be beautiful because they have more than half of the country that will support their phony systems and stupid politicians with no technical knowledge. Everyone will be rubbing threir hands for the next feeding.

  • Mike Holman

    Iranian Backed Houthis Attack U.S. Warships with Cruise Missiles

    Yesterday’s attack on the USS Mason (DDG-87) and the USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15 represents a pivotal event. While the two C-802 cruise missiles were launched by the Iranian backed Houthis, my strong belief is that this was a test closely monitored by the Iranian military. The Iranian military wants to see what defense systems and counter measures we employ, and how we use those systems and countermeasures.

    Neither of the two missiles struck the Navy ships. It is unknown whether they were destroyed by the USS Mason, which launched two Standard Missile-2s (SM-2s) and a single Enhanced Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) to intercept the missiles.

    “Last week a Houthi-launched cruise missile caused significant damage to the UAE-leased HSV Swift – an unarmed aluminum high-speed transport vessel used to move supplies and wounded in the region.”

    The most advanced cruise missiles pose a grave threat to our Navy and the men and women who sail our ships. Many believe that these relatively cheap weapons systems can sink our carriers and kill thousands of our sailors.

    The C-802 is old technology. Fired at unprotected ships it is deadly. Fired in numbers at protected ships it can score hits and destroy them.

    In the Six-Day War, Egypt sank the Israeli destroyer Elath, using a Soviet anti-ship missile. In the Falklands war, Argentina sank the Royal Navy Destroyer HMS Sheffield with a French made Exocet anti-ship missile. In 1987, an Iraqi warplane launched an Exocet missile that struck, crippled, and nearly sunk the USS Stark, a US Navy guided missile frigate with 230 sailors on board.

    The problem is that Iran has the more advance and deadly anti-ship cruise cruise missiles purchased from Russia. These advanced missiles travel at supersonic speeds. They are the Russian-made SS-N-22 Sunburn and SS-NX-26 Oniks anti-ship cruise missiles.

    The Oniks is faster and even more deadly than the Sunburn. The “Onyx streaks along its extended 200+ kilometer flight path at a blistering Mach 2.9 [2,100 mph], while hugging the ground even closer at an average altitude of only 45 feet. Onyx is 100% “Fire and Forget”, meaning that once out of the launch tube, flight management is entirely automatic.”

    In my opinion, this means that Iran can blockade the Straits of Hormuz, shutting down twenty percent of the World’s oil supply, including the 16% of the oil we import from Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states. Iran, backed by Russia, can make that blockage stick, because not only does Iran have anti-ship cruise missiles, it has a large submarine fleet designed to operate in the Persian Gulf, and an advanced anti-aircraft missile system purchased from Russia.

    Iran will only get stronger. With money from America and the Nuclear deal, Iran will buy the latest weapons systems from Russia and China and nuclear technology from North Korea. Iran and Russia both want to embarrass and weaken America. Together operating with locally superior forces, they have the military strength and clearly focused leadership to accomplish these objectives.

  • WestNY

    It follows the pattern of the whole history of anti-ship missiles v warships, still no clear case where a hard kill defensive system shot down a missile which otherwise would have hit a warship. HMS Gloucester definitely shot one down in the 1991 Gulf War but not clear whether it had already been decoyed or locked onto anything. This case so far unclear any defensive missiles reached their targets before they crashed for some other reason.
    I know hard kill defenses have worked in pretty realistic tests and all’s well that ends well in this case so far. But it seems we still await a case where they absolutely prevented a hit.

  • omegatalon

    The launching of cruise missiles at the USS Mason was an act of war and the United States needs to act accordingly which means carpet bombing with cluster bombs from B-52s over the entire area of where the missiles were launched from.

    • Here’s to all us DEPLORABLES!

      Maybe do a little reconnoitering first? Lots of innocent sand dunes over there I’ve heard.

    • Fresh

      Al Qaeda and Wahhabi extremists have enough of our help as it is.

  • usakindatheart

    Once again Hillary Secretary of state garbage rolls on, backing Saudi sunnis against Iran’s shite’s.
    Stop selling weapons to both sides!

  • Anonymous

    I honestly could care less what the Saudis, U.S, and others do to Yemen now.

    • Fresh

      You should care because it will solidify a foreign policy, which has been corrupt since Necons took over under Kissinger. Neocons were originally Democrats but they’ve managed to indoctrinate both Parties over the years. Now, they’re slipping back over to Dems because they go where the power resides.

      The two party system is great for them. Dems who could see their corruption, will now be on board. Real liberals will remain consistent but we may get help from the right who need to reflexively hate Dems. I’m happy to take that, despite the phoniness of it. Maybe we can stop this insanity before Necons adopt Republicans again, which is when we will lose those well needed voices of opposition.

  • Kalte_Lokshen

    Iranian proxies fired missiles at US ships. Could this have happened in the pre-Obama days? Of course not and guess what? The Iranians are also aware of Hillary’s inaction in Lybia. If she is elected, expect not only more of the same but much worse!

    • Jim

      Iraq fired two Exocet missiles at a USN frigate in the early 90’s. Nearly sunk the ship.

      • Kalte_Lokshen

        Thanks for your comment, Jim but I referred to attacks on US vessels. France, in spite of their pretenses, have not been and are not a superpower…

    • John Locke

      Two trucks driven by “The Islamic Jihad” loaded with explosives leveled a barracks in Beirut filled with Marines while Reagan was President.
      241 dead.

      Depending on how selective you are about history and your “facts” we could always include Pearl Harbor.

      • Kalte_Lokshen

        I can’t recall whether the Beirut attack was by Islamic Jihad or by Hezbollah. Given the fact that it occurred in Lebanon, it had been probably the latter, but you are right about it.
        Following that attack the US retreated from the Middle East only to return after 911 and Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.
        In any case – the biggest impotent versus the genocide in Syria and the leader most responsible for the current mess in the Arab world is Obama. No one can take it from him.
        You last paragraph is not worthy of any reference.

  • Snoooopy

    Glad to see SM-2s used the way they’re intended. They have roots back to the Terrier missiles I helped fire on USS Mississippi sixty years ago. Let’s use up some more.

  • Dustin Doubleplay

    Good story, but I don’t trust gingers. They have no soul.

  • Sleazy Vegetable Joe

    sounds like the gulf of tonkin all over again
    yay war

  • russellmeans

    Good job to all involved.

  • GTElmore

    Yeah, yeah. Missiles “evolve,” you know — as long as lots and lots of public dollars keep going to GE, Raytheon, etc. (the “military industrial complex” of which Ike warned). And it’s always great to pop somebody far, far away, with such missiles every now and then. Makes good sales material, you know.

    What’s it all about – really?

    Well – in significant measure, it’s about keeping plenty of money going to the U.S. weapons industry.

  • Neo Maxie Zoom Dweebie

    I’m thinking Iran may not me be fully aware what a kind of armament the USS Mason possesses. 9 – 20mm cannons are just the beginning.
    But, we know what Iran is going to do. They’ll slowly get closer until the Mason fires warning shots, then they’ll cruise back to port and make up a story of victory “over the evil USA!”
    Cowards.

  • Kalte_Lokshen

    John Locke, my email shows your response saying “Israel, a faithful ally. Care to guess what country conducts the most industrial espionage on the U.S.?”.
    Here are the 3 countries conducting the most industrial espionage in the US: China, Russia and Iran – not necessarily in that order.

  • It has me worried that the ESSM and SM-3 missiles all appeared to have missed their targets. Does anyone with more experience than I like to comment on this? Aren’t we depending on these to protect the CVN or do we have a lot more sophisticated missiles nowadays?

  • Centaurus

    So when do we start the embargo and who goes first ?