French frigate's helicopter shoots down Houthi drone

For several months, French frigates have been escorting civilian ships transiting the Gulf of Aden, the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and the Red Sea. First the frigate Languedoc, then the frigate Alsace which relieved it a few weeks ago, thus shot down several Houthi drones and missiles, launched against it and against the escorted ships.

These drones were also sometimes intercepted by Western combat planes, American F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets, Typhoon British, and French Mirage 2000-5.

However, no one has yet managed to intercept and destroy one of these drones, from a helicopter. This has already been done, by an onboard helicopter from the French Navy.

A French embarked helicopter wins its first aerial victory

The information was made public by the European command of Operation Aspide EUNAVFOR Aspide, on the Twitter network. “On March 20, while he was carrying out close protection of @EUNAVFORASPIDES in the Red Sea, the helicopter on board a French destroyer shot down a Houthi drone threatening commercial navigation.

AS365 onboard helicopter Panther Navy
AS565 helicopters Panther of the French Navy arm anti-aircraft frigates, light stealth frigates and surveillance frigates.

Although cryptic, this press release also gives more information than it seems. Thus, the only ship in the area, under the command of Aspide, is the anti-aircraft defense frigate Alsace.

This uses a helicopter Panther, for reconnaissance, surveillance and liaison missions, and not a Navy Caiman, specialized in anti-submarine warfare.

In terms of armaments, the Panther has a 7,62 mm port machine gun. It is therefore probably this which was used to shoot down the drone. This reveals remarkable piloting and shooting skills on the part of the crew of the aircraft, the first French embarked naval helicopter in history, to achieve an aerial victory.

The threat from Houthi missiles and drones does not weaken

Beyond this episode, it appears that the firing of drones, but also of cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, from the Houthi rebels does not seem to be easing, despite the American and British strikes having taken place. a few weeks ago.

alsace frigate
The Alsace frigate, which entered service in November 2021, provides escort for commercial ships along the Yemeni coast, as part of Operation Aspide.

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