British Royal Navy seized “anti-tank guided missiles” and missile components from an Iranian boat that was bound for Yemen, military officials announced Thursday.
The operation, which occurred on Feb. 23, 2023, took place in the Gulf of Oman, where illegal weapons trafficking has historically taken place between Iran and Yemen.
Coordinated efforts among U.S. and UK maritime forces led to Royal Navy frigate HMS Lancaster (F229) confiscating anti-tank guided missiles and missile components from a small boat that originated from Iran.
“This is the seventh illegal weapon or drug interdiction in the last three months and yet another example of Iran’s increasing malign maritime activity across the region,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “We will continue to work with our partners in pursuing any destabilizing activity that threatens regional maritime security and stability.”
Inside the boat, British troops found Russian 9M133 Kornet anti-tank guided missiles, known in Iran as “Dehlavieh,” the U.S. Navy’s Mideast-based 5th Fleet and the British navy said. Those weapons have been seen in other seizures suspected to be from Iran and bound for Yemen.
Also on board were small fins that the U.S. Navy identified as jet vanes and impact sensor covers for medium-range ballistic missiles. Iranian components have helped build a missile arsenal for Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have held the country’s capital, Sanaa, since 2014.
U.S. and UK naval forces regularly conduct combined maritime security operations to disrupt the flow of illicit cargo in Middle East waters. Last year, U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101), Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose (F236) and combined air assets led to Royal Navy forces seizing surface-to-air missiles and land-attack cruise-missile engines.
In the past three months, seven major interdictions have resulted in U.S. and partner maritime forces seizing more than 5,000 weapons, 1.6 million rounds of ammunition, 7,000 proximity fuses for rockets, 2,100 kilograms of propellant used to launch rocket propelled grenades, 30 anti-tank guided missiles, medium-range ballistic missile components and $80 million worth of illegal drugs.
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and United Kingdom Maritime Component Command are headquartered in Manama, Bahrain.