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Bath-built Destroyer Shoots Down Drone in Middle East

The USS Thomas Hudner shot down a drone in the Red Sea that the Pentagon said may have been launched by Houthi forces in support of Hamas.

The crew of a Bath-built warship shot down a drone in the Red Sea on Nov. 15 amid rising tensions in the Middle East spurred by the Israel-Hamas war.

The USS Thomas Hudner, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer commissioned into service in 2018, was traveling alone at the time as part of the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group deployed in the buildup of U.S. naval forces in the region.

“Our assessment right now is that the intended target was not the Hudner but that the drone got so close to the crew that the commander did feel it necessary to engage and shoot down the drone,” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said during a news conference on Nov. 16.

American military officials were investigating the drone’s origin.

“We know it came from Yemen,” Singh said. “We’re still doing an assessment of the attribution, but I would have no reason to doubt that it would have come from the Houthis, but it’s not like they sent a note with it.”

Iranian-backed Houthi forces supporting Hamas have launched strikes against Israel and threatened American military forces. Last month, another Bath-built destroyer, the USS Carney, shot down a barrage of missiles and drones that the Pentagon said were launched by the Houthis and likely bound for targets in Israel.

Houthis are a Shiite Muslim group battling Yemen’s Sunni Muslim majority. The group’s aggression comes amid protests at U.S. embassies across the Middle East for the country’s support of Israel and attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria.

Singh said the Israel-Hamas conflict has been contained to Gaza and “we don’t want to see this expand beyond that.”

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are commonly called the backbone of the U.S. Navy’s fleet. Bath Iron Works over the summer was awarded a contract to build three more destroyers in addition to the nine ships that are in various stages of production.

Source : Pressherald