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[News] A Houthi drone shot down by a French helicopter in the Red Sea. An action of aerial chivalry

(B2) The helicopter on board the French frigate Alsace shot down a Houthi drone in the Red Sea on Wednesday (March 20).

This action was carried out while the helicopter “ carried out close protection » specifies the EUNAVFOR Aspides operation which coordinates European maritime efforts in the area. The firing was carried out using the on-board helicopter's machine gun.

On the video broadcast by the army headquarters, we can clearly hear the voice of the helicopter gunner: “ Ok… Locked… I make combat arrangements… Visual… Opening ". Then the machine gun fire. Two series of blows. 7,62mm according to my colleague Vincent Lamigeon who has an ear. And the verdict: “ Contact. It's good. Engine stopped ».

EUNAVFOR ASPIDES 🇪🇺 | Interception by the frigate's helicopter 🇫🇷 of an aerial drone coming from Yemen threatening civilian maritime traffic in the Red Sea.
➡️ The priority: ensuring freedom of navigation and maritime security from Suez to Hormuz

Comment: an action of aerial chivalry

This is the first time to our knowledge that helicopters have been used with direct fire through the helicopter door against drones. Usually, this task was rather devolved to sea-to-air or air-to-air missiles by fighter planes which were used either against ballistic missiles or against drones.

This method — worthy of modern chivalry — has the advantage of being cheaper than sending a missile and, in a way, safer, at least against unarmed drones. Which still requires a certain dexterity from both the helicopter pilot and his colleague responsible for neutralizing the drone.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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