HMS Diamond Becomes First Royal Navy Vessel to Intercept Ballistic Missile in Combat

The Daring-class air-defense guided missile destroyer HMS Diamond has become the first United Kingdom Royal Navy warship to intercept a ballistic missile in combat during operations in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday.

The Interception

According to UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps, the HMS Diamond intercepted the Houthi ballistic missile using a Sea Viper anti-air missile system while defending a commercial vessel in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday.

The interception marks several significant firsts for the Royal Navy:

  • First interception of a Houthi missile since the Royal Navy deployed to the region
  • Fist interception of a ballistic missile in general for the Royal Navy
  • First interception of a missile system for the Royal Navy since the Gulf War

HMS Diamond Deployment

The HMS Diamond is currently deployed as part of Operation Prosperity Guardian, an American-led international maritime security coalition that aims to protect commercial shipping vessels from Houthi attacks in the Red Sea.

Secretary Shapps previously stated “This is an international problem that requires an international solution. That is why HMS Diamond has joined Operation Prosperity Guardian. This new task force will protect shipping and vital trade routes in the Red Sea, where large amounts of goods and oil transit through to Europe and on to the UK.”

Since December 2023, the HMS Diamond has been involved in at least three known engagements against Houthi explosive drones in the region targeting commercial vessels. The last inceptions occurred on January 9, where the vessel deployed Sea Viper missiles and its guns (unclear if 4.5 inch Mark 8 main gun or 20 mm Phalanx CIWS) to destroy “multiple attack drones heading for her and commercial shipping in the area,” which repelled “the largest attack from the Iranian-backed Houthis in the Red Sea to date,” according to Secretary Shapps.

The Houthis have maintained that attacks against commercial shipping will continue until Israeli military operations in Gaza cease.

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