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The Houthis have a new tool in their arsenal, uncrewed underwater vehicles (UUVs), one of which the US Navy reported destroying on Feb. 18. H.I. Sutton, a submarine expert frequently quoted in the media, speculates that the UUV acquired by the Houthis came from Iran. Sutton’s evidence comes from US Navy imagery released last week of a vessel that had been seized by the US Coast Guard in January, smuggling what was reported to be weaponry and other equipment, including components for underwater drones, from Iran to the Houthis in Yemen. Sutton also used drone imagery from Iran itself for comparison purposes.

“Underwater weapons are inherently harder to detect and counter than surface vessels,” Sutton concludes in an article for USNI News. “They are more likely to surprise the target and can cause holes below the waterline which can be more damaging. They also require a different set of tactics for the escorting warships to counter them. Ukraine has amply demonstrated the effectiveness of explosive-laden surface drones (USVs) against Russian platforms. The Houthis have had less success, largely due to the presence of U.S. Navy and allied warships in the region.”