Home » Aviation » Pentagon Still Unsure if USS Mason Was Attacked on Saturday


Pentagon Still Unsure if USS Mason Was Attacked on Saturday

USS Mason (DDG-87) on June 6, 2016. US Navy Photo

USS Mason (DDG-87) on June 6, 2016. US Navy Photo

THE PENTAGON — The U.S. military is still unsure if a guided missile destroyer was attacked Saturday by anti-ship cruise missiles, a Defense Department spokesman told reporters on Tuesday.

At around 10:19 p.m. local time ( 3:19 p.m. EST) Saturday, USS Mason (DDG-87) deployed counter measures against two targets that appeared to be cruise missiles headed toward the ship, USNI News understands. The ship’s sensors picked up two apparent threats about 30 minutes apart on Saturday and launched counter measures, a defense official told USNI News.

Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, told reporters, “we actually have not confirmed that happened and we’re going back and looking at all the information to see what might or might not have happened and that’s where we are.”

While the military was quickly able to determine two previous attacks on Masonone on Oct. 9 and another on Oct. 12 — were in fact cruise missile originating in Yemen and launched by Houthi rebels, Davis said there were fewer sensors in the area to make that call.

“I will tell you that we look at a lot of different points of information and it’s not just one single ship or one single radar system,” he said.
“When we make assessments what we did last week on what happened with the Mason then that was based on multiple sources of information.”

In response to a question in what additional sources of information the U.S. could use, Davis said, “I can’t get into it, but there are other sources of information.“

One defense official told USNI News that the military believes at least the first contact Mason tracked and launched countermeasures against was a cruise missile.

While Davis did not specify what counter measures were used in the most recent incident, Mason fired its own missiles to intercept the threats during both encounters.

“On Wednesday, during the second attack on the Mason, the Aegis system detected and tracked the missile and the ship’s crew responded and destroyed it,” Stars and Stripes reported.
The guided missile destroyer was operating with USS Nitze (DDG-94) and the USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15). The trio have been operating in the vicinity of Bab el-Mandeb after the Oct. 1 attack on HSV Swift operated by the UAE.

Following the second attack on Mason last week, Nitze launched several Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM) in a retaliatory strike into Houthi controlled territory in Yemen to take out radar installations.

It’s unclear if the U.S. will retaliate if they find Saturday’s the alleged attack wasn’t just a false reading on Mason’s sensors.

  • delta9991

    These should have the Navy seriously considering adding the SeaRAM system to all the Burkes (not just Rota based) along with the Phalanx for 1 of each per ship. The Standards, ESSM, and decoys are excellent, and proved their worth last week, but in these short range, quick reaction environment the Mason has found itself in its always nice to have that one extra layer. The Burkes (even IIA model) have space and weight for it, just a matter of buying enough units and getting them onboard (which is, unfortunately, the hard part).

  • Harvey Lyon

    Lets see, the 40 yr old,but constantly improved and proven,AEGIS weapon system says “YOU”RE BEING ATTACKED”. Obama says “not so fast” that’s difficult for my World Peace” vision.

    Guess we need to lose a ship to a “rogue explosive wave”.

    • John Locke

      argumentum ex silentio

    • Wu-Tang

      Harvey thinks we should start WW3 and invade the entire Middle East and start redrawing borders. God forbid people consider the geopolitical impact of escalating things in Yemen. Plus, Houthi consider us as their enemy for our support for the Saudis. Somewhat natural for them wanting to lash out as us considering were providing the Saudis intelligence, planning and weapons.

      • Danny Lewis

        Hmmmmmm, I read and reread Harvey’s post several times and did not see anything about starting WW3 and redrawing any borders. What you are accusing him of, the Muslim terrorists have been trying to do for years now, including the Houthi terrorists. Don’t accuse someone of saying something when they haven’t.
        As for giving the Saudi’s intel, so what!! If you’re going to start a war, you had better be prepared for any and all consequences.
        It also appears to me that you may be sympathetic to the terrorists by your term “lashing out” at our ships. Our ships were in international waters protecting the freedom of navigation since that is a very busy shipping lane. If you want to blame someone of wanting to redraw the lines then take your ire out on the Irainians, since they are to ones behind this mess.

        • Bill

          Do the Chinese trolls feel a need to weigh in on everything? Got to earn their pay.

          • Wu-Tang

            China numba 1!!

            And Wu-Tang is a rap group nothing to do with the real PLA trolls.

    • On Dre

      Were those tomahawks the US Navy launched against the missile batteries guided to their targets with Obama’s “World Peace” vision?

    • old guy

      O’bummer is soon (not soon enough) to leave. Let’s hope we get a President with Cajones (literally), but with this unpatriotic, touchy. feely electorate, who knows.

      • sferrin

        Sadly, we’re going to get the criminal.

        • Niki Ptt

          To which of the two criminals are you referring to?

    • Dave Cockayne

      It was workplace violence. Nothing to see here, move along.

    • El_Sid

      Is this the same Aegis system that thought it was being attacked by an Iranian Airbus in 1988?

  • Earl Tower

    I think this is a good example of why we need to get more data processing into the hands of the field commanders, even those afloat. They are going to need every tool they can get to handle the growing complexity of modern warfare. I fear that if we rely upon ashore assets back home linked in via satellite that we could be looking at a point of failure. So the field commanders are going to need adequate processing capacity for all the ISR, C4IR, etc. I just hope we are looking for a balance that would greatly augment field units from homestation while giving them adequate tools to get the job done on site if they have ot wing it.

  • The Plague

    “…there were fewer sensors in the area…” – the same ship having been attacked twice a few days prior, they somehow ended up deploying “fewer sensors” for the same area. Logical. And the Mason’s radar track is not considered reliable enough, for some reason, to even classify the target. This story is now getting “complicated” which is generally a good indication that somebody is or was lying.

  • John B. Morgen

    The USS Mason (DDG-87) was attacked, and counter-action was deployed against two missiles, and the Pentagon doesn’t understand that simple fact!? What, the Pentagon would preferred that the USS Mason (DDG-87) has to be damaged first, in order to be confirmed that an attack had taken place.. What bloody nonsense……

    • El_Sid

      Compare with the USS Vincennes in 1988, when the crew started thinking that everything looked like a threat, so that eventually a civilian airliner that was squawking on civilian frequencies and flying the opposite of an attack profile, got shot down.

      Or compare in the Falklands, where RN crews got so twitchy about submarines that they almost ran out of torpedoes firing at unconfirmed contacts including whales.

      • John B. Morgen

        We couldn’t trust the Iranians, especially, when the people of Iran were ranting, “Death to America.” The captain of the USS Vincennes was not going to take any chances with this aircraft.What I have read from the USNI Proceedings that the captain was afraid that the Iranians were about to used the airline as a kamikaze, which would damaged his cruiser extensively. It was the Iranians’ fault for making the political climate, and the climate becoming toxic for extreme violence.

        As for the Falklands War, the problem there was the Royal Navy had not fought an ASW war since World War II; although, the crew of several frigates were trained to deal with submarines warfare. The crew’s skill and training was not enough to track and target Argentinan submarines—the Royal Navy lack the patience that is required for attacking submarines.