French Naval vessel withdraws under pressure from Yemeni strikes

French Naval vessel withdraws under pressure from Yemeni strikes

The French Navy was forced to withdraw its frigate Alsace (FREMM) from the Red Sea due to the pressure of precise Yemeni missile strikes.

“We didn’t necessarily expect this level of threat. There was an unbridled violence that was quite surprising and very significant. The Houthis do not hesitate to use drones that fly at water level, to explode them on commercial ships, and to fire ballistic missiles,” the frigate’s commander Jerome Henry said in a statement to Le Figaro

He added: “We had to carry out at least half a dozen assistances following Houthi strikes.”

The French naval commander pointed out the escalating level of violence, saying: “The level of violence is also increasing. Initially, it was suicide drones, now it is very regular use of ballistic missiles. The last time we faced fire was actually back in 2011, during Operation Harmattan (during the military intervention in Libya). I was there too. It wasn’t the same thing. It has been a longer time since we dealt with this level of weapons and violence.”

Henry emphasized that the threat the frigate faced was much greater in the Red Sea, confirming that the Houthis are mastering their tactics so that the more they fire, the more accurate they become.

He explained that “all combat equipment was used on board the frigate, from the Aster missile to machine guns,” highlighting the significant cost of each Aster missile at $2 million.

It is worth noting that this is the second European frigate to withdraw from the Red Sea. Previously, the Danish frigate Iver Huitfeldt withdrew due to the serious threats and problems in its defense system that exposed it and its crew to danger.