It looks to me as if the Houthis (Ansar Allah party) have a response to the American/Saudi aggression against Yemen that could mean real trouble coming up for merchant ships and tankers going through the Bab el Mandeb. Crew members of the HSV-2, the modern, very fast, Australian built, UAE auxiliary ship (seemingly designed by someone who was under the influence of the Italian film-director Federico Fellini), that was gutted by fire and explosion on October 1 have been quoted in the press in Gulf newspapers as saying that the attack began about 3 a.m. with most of the Ukrainian/Central European crew of 24 asleep. There was a powerful explosion which lurched the ship down on one side, the force of which suggests either an antitank Kornet or an Iranian Noor. The aluminum superstructure began to burn. I believe the video, whoever provided it, is accurate. I believe this because the vast horseshoe of windows on what I assume is the observation deck clearly show fire burning behind them, once you understand how unusual the ship is. A crewmember states that there were small boats around the ship steadily firing small arms into the ship.
Another source says that there is now a search on for the small boats involved. Another report says there were four hits on the ship from shoulder-fired weapons.(?) But the video suggests to me, because I have accepted that it is genuine, that the missile travelled a distance of at least a couple of miles. Problem is, that a Kornet CM thermobarbic can travel 8-10,000 meters, out to beyond five miles. Question would be: was one of the presumed Houthi boats fitted out with the Kornet launch system? Which is possible. Worse, what if Iran has now supplied the Houthis with Noor missiles and the technicians to operate them? Remember that a Noor missile was used in the wrecking of the very modern, Tuscaloosa-built Israeli corvette, INS Hanit, on July 14, 2006, some ten miles off the Lebanese coast. Inasmuch as the question seems to be the threat to commercial shipping, is not the sinking of the Egyptian freighter some 27 miles further out, by a second Noor missile shot, that went high,equally interesting? The Egyptian ship is said to have gone down very fast. The crew was picked up by boats from Cyprus. You would be surprised how hard it is to find out what happened to that freighter. If the Noor came in from a steep angle, it could simply have gone through the ship, then detonated, either at the bottom of the hull or under the ship. It would be interesting to know how much time the crew had to abandon ship. Now we have the firing of two missiles at the USS Mason, an Arleigh Burke DDG that was in the straits along with now some other US navy ships to protect shipping in transit. Did the Mason's electronic counter-measures work against the Noor and cause the missiles to fall short? Or are the missiles being used something else, like Kornets? And was it a warning; or some tribesmen out of control? I suspect that the attack on the Mason was not by Noor missiles. One might have overshot. If knocked down, I suspect the missile would have come very close, not "fallen(far?) short," as described, as a Kornet might, if shot defiantly, but out of range. Further, I think an attack on an American warship would have been a lot more thorough, if carried out by an Iranian team. I think that a well-coordinated Noor attack might be a game-changer in the region. You're looking at a serious escalation if one or more Arleigh Burke DDG's are crippled by a calculated and well planned simultaneous attack by four or five Noor missiles, operated by teams of Iranian technicians. I have read that the onboard radar in the Noor nose-cone is not that vulnerable; according to Wiki the Noor has been upgraded to the Qader, and in early 2012 "during Velayete-90 wargames, a Noor missile was tested with improvements in electronic systems, a more jam-resistent radar and better target acquisition algorithms. A Qader missile was also tested in the wargame." Iran is said to have thousands of Noor missiles by now. I have always imagined (and once or twice found a writer willing to discuss it) that the well-designed attack, using these surely somewhat obsolescent Noor missiles, would have to be brought off using a first volley of at least five; and once the target's defensive systems begin to be degraded, a second attack by another five commences. There could also be a boat borne Kornet attack launched at the same time. There are islands in that area, and hiding places along the coast. The Kornet has enough range in the right places, where fairly careful navigation is required, with Captain on bridge. I have been wondering for years why an American warship has not been attacked with sophisticated missiles by a group that chooses not to identify itself. Bab el Mandeb is one of the perfect bodies of water to launch such an attack. Then there are the straits of Gibraltar, eight miles wide, where Moroccan elections just handed Islamist parties more political power. I think it is pretty well certain that if American keep escalating in the Middle East, an American warship, or a group of warships, is going to be successfully attacked somewhere off the Arabian littoral. And then what? - Tidewater