The US Navy spent nearly a billion dollars on missiles to deal with the Houthis
The destroyer USS Carney launched missiles to block Houthi targets in the Red Sea in October 2023. Photo: US Navy

The US Navy launched nearly a billion USD worth of missiles in 6 months of confrontation with the Houthis in the Red Sea and needs to fill the gap.

“We have intercepted more than 130 direct attacks targeting US naval ships and cargo ships,” US Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said at a hearing before the US Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on June 16. /4, refers to the campaign to deal with Houthi forces in the Red Sea taking place from October 2023.

Minister Del Toro said US warships have spent nearly a billion dollars worth of missiles to intercept Houthi weapons, as well as pre-emptively raid areas controlled by this militia group in Yemen in 6 months. “The types of missiles used in recent times play a particularly important role for the US Navy and need to be supplemented,” he said.

Mr. Del Toro did not reveal specific statistics on the amount of missiles consumed, nor whether the figure of nearly one billion USD includes the interception of Iranian drones (UAVs) and missiles aimed at Israel on the night of November 13. /4 or not.

US warships deployed in the Middle East are equipped with many types of anti-aircraft missiles, of which the basic SM-2 model costs $2 million each. The more modern SM-6 missile costs more than $4 million, while the SM-3 line, which specializes in dealing with ballistic missiles, costs up to $36 million each.

The information was released in the context of the US Senate approving an additional budget package worth 2.4 billion USD to maintain the campaign in the Red Sea, but the spending draft is being blocked in the House of Representatives. “Congress needs to approve a supplemental spending package this week so we can access resources to offset the amount of ammunition consumed,” the US Navy Secretary said.

Houthi forces have continuously launched missiles and UAVs to attack cargo ships and warships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since November 2023, to show solidarity with the Palestinian people after Israel sent troops into the Gaza Strip to “erase “root” of the armed group Hamas.

Since mid-January, the US-led coalition has repeatedly attacked Houthi targets in Yemen, in response to the group’s raids as well as preventing the force from continuing to target maritime routes in Yemen. 

However, many military experts have questioned the effectiveness and ability to maintain the US campaign, especially when there is no sign that the Houthis will abandon raids in the Red Sea.