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German frigate successfully intercepts Houthi attack UAVs in Red Sea

Hessen is pictured departing Wilhelmshaven naval base on 8 February to join the EU's new maritime security mission to protect commercial shipping in the Red Sea. (Bundeswehr/Julia Kelm)

The German Navy's Type 124 Sachsen-class air-defence frigate FGS Hessen (F 221) successfully repelled two one-way attack unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the Red Sea launched by Yemen-based Ansar Allah (commonly known as the Houthis) militants on 27 February.

Briefing media at a German government press conference on 28 February, German Federal Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson Michael Stempfle confirmed that the UAVs were launched in two separate attacks on the evening of 27 February.

The first UAV was detected by Hessen at 2000 h local time and was successfully intercepted shortly after using the ship's onboard 76 mm gun. The second UAV was detected 20 minutes later and was successfully engaged using the ship's RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) short-range defence system, he said.

“They were detected by the radar system and were at different distances,” he said. “That's why there were two different weapons that were used.”

In a statement issued the same day, the German armed forces said Hessen 's crew “initiated defensive measures in accordance with the rules of engagement” to successfully engage both UAVs.

Hessen sailed into the southern Red Sea on 24 February to commence operations with ‘Aspides', the European Union's (EU's) new naval mission to protect commercial shipping in the region from the ongoing Houthi attacks. Germany despatched Hessen to the Mediterranean on 8 February, and the ship was able to pass through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea after receiving final parliamentary approval to join the EU mission on 23 February.

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