German Warship Accidentally Targets US Drone In Red Sea: REPORT

REUTERS/Carmen Jaspersen

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
Font Size:

A German warship reportedly fired on a U.S. spy drone operating near the coast of Yemen but missed twice, according to media reports.

The German frigate Hessen, deployed to the Red Sea as part of the European Union’s (EU) operation to protect international shipping in the Red Sea from Houthi attacks, mistakenly attempted to shoot down the MQ-9 Reaper, Germany’s Der Spiegel and AFP reported. Both missiles missed due to unspecified technical failures, according to reports, while U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) forces are leading a separate multinational coalition to repel Houthi attacks.

“A U.S. MQ-9 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle was targeted in the Red Sea Feb. 27. The UAV did not receive damage and continued its mission,” a U.S. defense spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Thursday. (RELATED: US, United Kingdom Conduct Strikes On 18 Houthi Targets As Commercial Vessel In Red Sea Sinks)

The spokesperson declined to specify whether the MQ-9 was the same one the Hessen accidentally targeted.

On Tuesday, a defense official said the U.S. was looking into the matter.

“CENTCOM is in close coordination with the EU and Operation Aspides to ensure safe deconfliction of airspace,” the defense official said.

The Hessen arrived in the region on Feb. 24 to support Operation Aspides, according to a social media statement. Separately, the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier and several destroyers are patrolling the seas to defend against the Houthis’ seemingly relentless drone and missile attacks on international shipping and naval vessels.

“Operation Prosperity Guardian and Operation Aspides continue to operate alongside each other as we continue our mission to ensure freedom of navigation,” the defense spokesperson said.

The Hessen opened fire after it could not identify the suspicious drone, but its efforts “were unsuccessful,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said Wednesday, according to AFP. The target, which transpired to be a “reconnaissance drone,” was “not hit,” he added.

U.S. MQ-9 drones have operated in international airspace of the Red Sea tasked primarily with intelligence gathering, according to CNN. The Houthis have downed two MQ-9s since November in connection to their opposition to U.S. support for Israel.

Germany’s armed forces confirmed it shot down two Houthi drones in a social media post, making Germany the fourth nation to confirm engagements with the Houthis.

The Hessen shot down the two one-way attack drones within 20 minutes of each being fired, the ministry spokesperson said, according to Reuters. He did not specify whether the target was the German frigate or another ship.

“They were recognized by the radar system and had a different range. That’s why two different weapons were used,” the ministry spokesperson said, according to Reuters.

“This is … probably the most dangerous deployment of the German Navy for many, many years,” the spokespersons said.

The Hessen locked in on another unidentified drone on Monday but was unsuccessful in downing it, Reuters reported the spokesperson as specifying, possibly referring to the incident with the MQ-9.

Also on Tuesday, CENTCOM forces shot down five one-way attack drones fired by the Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists in the space of about an hour, the military said in a statement on social media.

On Monday, CENTCOM forces destroyed three drone boats likely filled with explosives and a suicide drone in “self-defense,” CENTCOM said in a statement, as well as two anti-ship cruise missiles being transported.

“The USV and ASCM weapons were prepared to launch towards, and the UAV was over the Red Sea,” the statement read.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include comment from a U.S. defense official.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact