Recently, the Houthi armed forces announced indiscriminate attacks on US and British ships, which has attracted attention. However, in a large-scale missile attack on January 9, the Houthi armed forces failed to break through the US military’s Aegis system, resulting in all missiles and drones being successfully intercepted. Why are the Houthis unable to penetrate the Aegis system? How powerful is the Aegis system, and what is the technological gap behind it? We will explore this issue in depth.
The powerful air defense capabilities of the Aegis system
The Aegis system is the most advanced ship-based air defense system in the United States and is widely used on modern warships such as Burke-class destroyers. The system’s core is its advanced radar technology, which can search 360 degrees around the clock without blind spots, with a detection range of more than 550 kilometers. This advanced technology allows the Aegis system to lock on and track up to hundreds of targets quickly.
In actual combat, when an enemy missile is launched, the Aegis system will transmit a large amount of data to the decision-making system in real-time, and the decision-making system can formulate an optimal interception plan in just one second. Next, the MK41 vertical launch system of the Aegis system will launch interceptor missiles. A Burke-class destroyer has 96 vertical launch units with a launch rate of up to one per second.
The interception level of the Aegis system is also its strength. It is divided into three layers of air defense interception network. The first layer consists of standard II medium- and long-range interceptors responsible for intercepting targets 100 kilometers away.
If the interception fails, the Sea Sparrow short-range interceptor will take over and destroy targets within 20 kilometers. Finally, Aegis can activate the Phalanx air defense system, strafing within 1,500 meters and firing 4,500 rounds per minute to destroy incoming missiles.
Shortcomings of Houthi armed missile technology
Houthi missile technology is relatively backward. In the latest round of attacks, the anti-ship missile suicide drones used by the Houthis had obvious flaws. First, its missiles are limited in number and can only launch a few or a dozen at a time. Secondly, the missile’s speed is less than Mach 5, its maneuverability is weak, and it cannot be equipped with jamming equipment. This allows the Aegis system to target and intercept these missiles easily.
Technology determines the battle situation.
Technological strength has become the key to victory in the current war era. Although the Houthis have shown courage, their shortcomings in missile technology prevent them from effectively challenging the Aegis system. On the other hand, the Aegis system, with its advanced radar technology and efficient interception system, has formed a powerful maritime air defense barrier.
It is worth noting that different countries and military organizations have different missile technology development levels. On the Russian-Ukrainian battlefield, Russian missiles frequently penetrated NATO’s air defense systems, but this was mainly due to factors such as the large number, fast speed, and strong maneuverability of Russian missiles. When the Houthi armed forces faced the US military’s Aegis system, their lack of missile technology became a problem for them to break through.
Future developments and challenges
With the continuous development of military technology, countries will continue to work on improving missile technology and seeking to break through their opponents’ air defense systems. For the Houthi armed forces, it is necessary to increase investment in the development and improvement of missile technology to improve its ability to counter modern air defense systems. Technological innovation and strength improvement are key in the global arms race, and only military organizations with top technology can remain invincible on the battlefield. Overall, the Houthis’ failure to breach the Aegis system highlights the decisive role of technological prowess in today’s wars.