Houthis deploy devastating SUBMARINE drones for first time in chilling new stealth threat to ships in flashpoint Red Sea

RED Sea ships face a new deadly threat from underwater drones, US forces have warned.

Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have deployed an “unmanned underwater vehicle” for the first time, America’s CentCom headquarters revealed.


Iran’s homegrown new marine drones may have been used by the Houthi rebels in the attackCredit: IRNA
The US said it is the first time the militia group had used underwater drones


The US said it is the first time the militia group had used underwater dronesCredit: IRNA
The Houthis have been relentlessly targeting ships in the Red Sea


The Houthis have been relentlessly targeting ships in the Red SeaCredit: Getty

The US did not release details of the underwater drone it destroyed.

But pictures of the parts seized on the smuggler’s boat on Jan 28 showed what looked like a torpedo propeller.

It could be the similar model to what Iran unveiled in December – a new devastating and secretive homegrown submarine drone which can go as deep as 200m.

Iran’s new toy acts like a torpedo by moving stealthily towards its target and exploding.

It comes as the crew of a UK-registered merchant vessel were forced to abandon their ship after a double Houthi missile strike left it sinking in the treacherous Bab el-Mandeb strait.

The attack on the 170m-long Rubymar was by far the most damaging since Oct 23, when Houthi rebels ramped up their attacks in response to the Israel Gaza war.

Earlier, the US Red Sea task force said it destroyed a mini-submarine, a surface maritime drone and three anti-ship cruise missiles over the weekend.

All five weapons posed an imminent threat to US warships and merchant vessels in the region, CentCom added.

The strikes came days after US officials revealed their seized underwater drone parts on a gun-runners’ boat in the Arabian Sea.

A US Coastguard cutter stormed the unnamed vessel packed with weapons components from Iran.

CentCom said: “The boarding team discovered over 200 packages that contained medium-range ballistic missile components, explosives, unmanned underwater [and] surface vehicle components, military-grade communication and network equipment, anti-tank guided missile launcher assemblies, and other military components.”

Ukraine has proved the power of sea drones by sinking Russian warships, including the Caesar Kunikov landing ship and Ivanovets corvette this month.

Naval expert H I Sutton warned underwater drones were more likely to surprise their targets and would force the Navy ships to change tactics.

Writing for the US Naval Institute News, he said: “Underwater weapons are inherently harder to detect and counter than surface vessels.

Britain joins US to strike Houthis in Yemen in third wave of attacks on Iran-backed militia

“They are more likely to surprise the target and can cause holes below the waterline which can be more damaging.

“They also require a different set of tactics for the escorting warships to counter them.

“Ukraine has amply demonstrated the effectiveness of explosive-laden surface drones against Russian platforms.

“The Houthis have had less success, largely due to the presence of US Navy and allied warships in the region.”

Sutton said drones which look like torpedos are usually slower than normal torpedos but have a greater range.

He said they are “most effective against static targets such as ships in port or at anchor”.

Read more on the Scottish Sun

On Monday, pictures allegedly showed the debris of a US drone after it was shot down by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea.

Yemen’s Houthis shot down US drone MQ9 in the port city of Hodeidah, according to Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea.

Who are the Houthis?

THE Houthi rebels are terrorising the Red Sea by launching persistent missile and drone attacks on vessels and warships – but who are they?

The Shia militant group, which now controls most of Yemen, spent over a decade being largely ignored by the world.

However, since the outbreak of the Israel-Gaza war they sprung from relative obscurity to holding roughly £1trillion of world trade hostage – turning one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes into an active warzone.

Their warped slogan is “Death to America, Death to Israel, curse the Jews and victory to Islam”.

Why are they attacking ships?

The rebel group has been launching relentless drone and missile attacks on any ships – including warships – they deem to be connected with Israel in solidarity with their ally, Hamas.

However, in reality there have been frequent attacks on commercial vessels with little or no link to Israel – forcing global sea traffic to halt operations in the region and sending shipping prices soaring.

The sea assaults have threatened to ignite a full-blown war in the Middle East as intense ripples from Israel’s war in Gaza are felt across the region – with Iran suspected of stoking the chaos.

Houthi attacks in the Red Sea increased 50 per cent between November and December as the rebel group’s chiefs pledged their assaults would continue until Israel stopped its offensive in Gaza.

And despite repeated threats from the West and joint US and UK strikes blitzing their strongholds in Yemen – Iran’s terror proxy appears undeterred.

The unmanned Iranian sea drone at work


The unmanned Iranian sea drone at workCredit: IRNA
Alleged debris of the US drone dragged through the water by Houthis


Alleged debris of the US drone dragged through the water by Houthis
The Iranian proxy claimed to have downed the US drone near Hodeidah


The Iranian proxy claimed to have downed the US drone near HodeidahCredit: EPA

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