The USS Thomas Hudner, an Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, engaged a drone that originated from Yemen on Wednesday and was heading towards the ship, a defense official confirmed to CNN. The Hudner was not believed to be the intended target, the officials said.
A statement from the Defense Department on Wednesday said that while “transiting the international waters of the Red Sea, the crew of the USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) engaged a drone that originated from Yemen and was heading in the direction of the ship.”
“The Hudner’s crew engaged and shot down the drone to ensure the safety of U.S. personnel,” the statement said. “There were no U.S. casualties or any damage to the ship.”
Reuters was first to report the drone had been shot down.
The Hudner was deployed as part of the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, and was in the southern portion of the Red Sea at the time of the engagement, one of the officials said.
It was the second intercept by a US Navy vessel in the region since Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7. On October 20, the USS Carney, intercepted four cruise missiles and 15 drones over a nine-hour period, CNN previously reported. The Pentagon said the missiles were fired by Iranian-backed Houthi forces.
Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in October that those missiles were launched “potentially towards targets in Israel.” The Carney intercepted the projectiles with SM-2 surface-to-air missiles.
The Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for recent missile attacks on Israel, and said more would follow if “Israeli aggression” continued.
Wednesday’s engagement comes a week after a US MQ-9 Reaper drone was shot down by Houthi forces off the cost of Yemen. It also comes amid continuous attacks by Iranian-backed forces in the region.
As of Tuesday, US and coalition forces had come under attack by Iranian-backed groups in Iraq and Syria at least 56 times since October 17.