Duilio ship shoots down a Houthi drone. a quick side note...

(To Philip Del Monte)

The details are not known, but it is now clear that the Italian ship used an OTO Melara 76/62 cannon to hit the drone Super Quick Supplied. So far the news. But this news generates some considerations on the function of naval artillery in this situation that cannot be overlooked.

The main criticisms of the naval military operations of the United States and Great Britain (Prosperity Guardian) and the European Union (Aspides) in the Red Sea have been linked to their "economic dimension". Despite the limited details available - as is normal for ongoing operations - on the clashes between Western ships and missiles/drones launched by the Houthis, so far the majority use of anti-aircraft missiles to counter threats coming from the hinterland of the country has seemed evident. Yemen.

Defending freedom of navigation in the Red Sea from Houthi attacks is considered economically unsustainable due to the high costs that destroying commercial drones costing a few thousand dollars with missiles costing hundreds of thousands of dollars imposes.

The destruction of the Yemeni drone by Nave Caio Duilio opened a new phase. This is because, instead of using the supplied ASTER surface-to-air missiles, the Italian sailors used traditional artillery, with lower costs and greater effectiveness. From some information leaked to the press, it seems that six bullets were used to hit the enemy drone, therefore, for a cannon that fires 120 per minute, it took a total of three seconds to achieve the result.

Even the German frigate Hessen (Class Saxony) shot down two Houthi drones a few days ago, one using the OTO Melara 76/62 cannon and the other with the RIM-116 short-range missile system Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM). The German action has generated quite a bit of criticism at home as problems have emerged relating both to the Hessen's methods of engagement and to the chronic shortage of ammunition, particularly missiles, which afflicts the German Navy and which cannot be replaced for all weapon systems that equip ships.

Naval artillery still remains effective and is not at all outdated, as, on the contrary, some of the theory claims. On the contrary, in certain situations the cannon is superior to the missile. To tell the truth, the Leonardo 76/62 pieces, in the various configurations, have given excellent results both in the Red Sea and in the coastal bombing by the Israeli Navy against Hamas positions in Gaza in the first days of the war.

This is an issue to be considered by countries that do not have "unlimited" resources but which still aspire to play a leading role in the seas for maintaining collective security.

Obviously, the brilliant action of the Italian Navy does not erase the problems connected to the "politics" of Aspides, harnessed by normative defenseism of Brussels and, therefore, not capable by its nature of putting an end to the Houthi threat to commercial traffic when, especially for Italy, it would be essential to lead to the rapid reactivation of the Suez route.

Photo: US Navy