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French Navy destroys 3 ballistic missiles launched by Houthis.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by the EU on March 21, 2024, during its mission to safeguard merchant vessels in the South Red Sea, a French FREMM frigate from EUNAVFOR Aspides successfully intercepted and neutralized three ballistic missiles launched by the Houthis.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 French FREMM frigate firing Aster missile. (Picture source: French MoD)

The Aster missiles, however, are used in both naval and land-based air defense systems. For naval applications, the Aster missiles are part of the PAAMS (Principal Anti-Air Missile System), utilized on ships such as the Royal Navy's Type 45 destroyers and the Horizon-class frigates used by the French and Italian navies. The system onboard these ships is designed to track, target, and destroy incoming aerial threats using the Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles.

The process of intercepting a ballistic missile involves several critical steps. First, the threat is detected by the ship's or ground installation's radar systems, which track the missile's trajectory. The system then calculates an intercept course and launches an Aster missile to intercept the ballistic missile.

The Aster missile's onboard guidance system adjusts its flight path as it receives updates from the radar system to ensure it remains on an intercept course with the incoming threat. Upon reaching the proximity of the ballistic missile, the Aster missile detonates its warhead, destroying the threat through a direct hit or blast fragmentation.

Houthis arsenal

The Houthi rebels in Yemen have assembled a arsenal of ballistic missiles and air defense systems through a combination of internal plunder, battlefield conquests, and external support, notably from Iran. This diverse cache not only originates from pre-existing Yemeni military supplies, including Soviet-era missiles, but has also been significantly bolstered by technological and material support from Tehran, marking a profound shift in the group's strategic capabilities.

The Houthis have adeptly capitalized on Yemen's internal chaos, commandeering nearly 70% of the Yemeni government's military hardware, dating back to acquisitions from the Soviet Union. These stockpiles have been augmented through battlefield captures, notably weapons and equipment seized from Saudi forces and mistakenly dropped coalition supplies.

Iran's contribution to the Houthi arsenal is undeniable, with tangible evidence linking Tehran to the supply of advanced missile technology. This includes an array of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and surface-to-air missiles, all bearing Iranian design and manufacturing hallmarks.

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