Amid a major humanitarian crisis unfolding in Yemen as a result of a Saudi-led military intervention, backed with airstrikes from the United States, which have increased threefold under President Trump. Western media has fallen silent on the Yemeni war leaving it to be a faceless and nameless conflict unlike the wars in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Most Americans would have trouble finding Yemen on a map, nevertheless, understand the ongoing military conflict in the war-torn country.
Aside from the mainstream media’s lack of coverage, Al-Masdar News, an Arab world newspaper, reports the Houthi Navy has captured a U.S. underwater autonomous surveillance drone operating off the Yemeni coastline earlier this week.
Houthi forces seized the REMUS 600 Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV), designed for area searches, mine countermeasures, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations. The AUV is manufactured by a Norwegian-based defense firm Kongsberg, who received funding from the Office of Naval Research to support the Navy’s growing demand for AUVs. The Houthi Navy claims the drone was part of Washington’s continued military support with Saudi Arabia to topple the Houthi regime inside Yemen.
The Washington Times says an earlier version of the REMUS UAV was responsible for clearing anti-ship mines at Iraqi ports right around the time of the invasion in 2003. History sure doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes, and with the REMUS 600 UAV roaming the waters off of Yemen, this could be an indication of the future ambitions of the United States and Saudi Arabia.
An earlier version of the underwater drone, dubbed the REMUS 100 and known within the U.S. Navy’s arsenal as the Mk-18 Mod 1 Swordfish, was used to clear anti-ship mines in the southern Iraqi port city of Umm Qasr in 2003, according to an Office of Naval Research factsheet. The REMUS 600, also known as the Mk-18 Mod 2 Kingfish, replaced the Swordfish in 2010.
“As part of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Fastlane initiative in 2011, 5th Fleet began receiving accelerated deliveries of Mk-18 [underwater drones] … meeting the urgent need for mine-hunting capabilities in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility,” according to U.S. Navy officials.
Similar to 2003 when the REMUS 100 cleared the waters of Iraq around the time of the invasion, is today’s REMUS 600 in the waters of Yemen a precursor to the next invasion? If history tells us anything, the answer is yes…