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Diamond downs drone number nine in her third action in the Middle East

30 January 2024
HMS Diamond has downed her ninth drone protecting shipping in the Middle East.

Once again two brilliant flashes of light briefly illuminated the Middle East night as first a Sea Viper burst from its silo and again seconds later as the missile impacted a Houthi drone, smashing it to smithereens.

On Saturday night, the Type 45 destroyer conducted her third engagement since arriving in the region shortly before Christmas in response to the ongoing threat against merchant shipping lawfully sailing between the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean.

The Portsmouth-based warship’s operations room was the focal point for the action as the air warfare team monitored the skies in the Gulf of Aden – and sensors picked up a drone moving from land towards the ocean.

The ship then ran through its well-practised drills – for real, once more.

Able Seaman Shearer Rickerby – who was ‘area picture reporter’ during the engagement, responsible for tracking the incoming threat – used “skills I never thought I’d have learned to enable us to keep the ship’s company and merchant vessels safe”.

Having determined the contact was a threat, the decision fell to Diamond’s Air Warfare Officer Lieutenant Commander Lee Funnell to engage with Sea Viper.
Bird target track GY405.

The ship’s main broadcast system sprang to life.

Crash stop ventilation in Zone One: Standby for Viper to Launch – warning crew that a missile weighing more than one third of a tonne, accelerating from 0 to Mach 4 in seconds, was about to launch.

Despite weighing more than 8,000 tonnes, the destroyer juddered, especially forward, followed by a tremendous roar then…
Bird away track GY405.

Seconds later – followed by Lt Cdr Funnell and AB Rickerby on their display screens and recorded by the destroyer’s Infra/Optic camera – Sea Viper struck its target.
Viper assess kill track GY405.

“It was very satisfying to see the team working together so professionally to protect merchant shipping,” said Lt Cdr Furnell. “Hopefully they are further reassured that we are here, willing and able to defend them from further attacks.”

Commander Peter Evans, Diamond’s Commanding Officer, said that once again he was “immensely proud of the team, who are doing a fantastic job under difficult circumstances. This latest engagement was further evidence that the multinational force operating in the area is keeping civilian sailors safe – and commerce flowing.”

Diamond has already carved her name in the history books with her actions in the Red Sea region, including:

most aerial threats neutralised by a Royal Navy warship in one day (seven) and

the first confirmed aerial kills with small arms (via her 30mm gun) since Korea.

A shore-based battery is credited with downing 14 German aircraft in Norway on May 5 1940, and crew of WW2 sloop HMS Black Swan twice downed four enemy aircraft in one day.

Guns on HMS Jamaica destroyed attacking Communist aircraft during the Inchon landings in Korea in September 1950 – the last confirmed kill prior to Diamond’s actions of Royal Navy guns, rather than missiles, downing an aerial threat, although they were strong, but unconfirmed, claims by the crew of HMS Antelope in the Falklands for shooting down an Argentine Skyhawk.

 

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