British warships do not have missiles to take out Houthi rebel bases in latest armed forces blow

27 January 2024, 22:42 | Updated: 27 January 2024, 23:05

British warships in the Red Sea can not carry missiles capable of destroying Houthi rebel bases - despite the Yemeni group continuing its campaign of strikes against civilian ships.
British warships in the Red Sea can not carry missiles capable of destroying Houthi rebel bases - despite the Yemeni group continuing its campaign of strikes against civilian ships. Picture: Getty

By Chay Quinn

British warships in the Red Sea can not carry missiles capable of destroying Houthi rebel bases - despite the Yemeni group continuing its campaign of strikes against civilian ships.

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Royal Navy destroyers and frigates do not have the capability to strike Houthi land targets and the situation has been described as a "scandal" by a former UK defence chief.

The deficiency has left the US to strike land targets against the belligerent group alone - aided by RAF aircraft nearly 1,500 miles away.

A British defence source told the Sunday Telegraph that the HMS Diamond, stationed to respond to Houthi provocations in the Red Sea, "did not have the capability to fire at land targets".

The Royal Navy destroyer HMS DIAMOND sails from its home port and starts a deployment which takes it to the eastern Mediterranean
A British defence source told the Sunday Telegraph that the HMS Diamond, stationed to respond to Houthi provocations in the Red Sea, "did not have the capability to fire at land targets". Picture: Alamy

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that it had been instead "directly involved in successfully destroying Houthi drones" in the Red Sea.

An former rear admiral suggested that the inability on show in the Red Sea shows that the British armed forces would be unable to withstand a full-scale war against China or Russia.

The latest blow comes after Brits were warned that we must prepare for conscription within six years unless Vladimir Putin is defeated by an expert.

Several Nato members have faced warnings about bolstering their militaries in the event of an armed conflict, most likely with Russia.

This includes the UK, where the head of the British Army, General Sir Patrick Sanders, said Brits would face being called up in the event of a war as our military is 'too small'.

108th anniversary of the Canakkale Land Battles
The British Army, General Sir Patrick Sanders, said Brits face being called up in the event of a war as our military is 'too small'. Picture: Getty

Professor Anthony Glees, a security and intelligence expert at the University of Buckingham, has said Sir Patrick is “absolutely right” that the UK should prepare for an outbreak of all-out war.

“The UK Government should plan to sign up volunteers now and over the next three years and 'the whole of the nation' should prepare for conscription within six years unless Putin were defeated,” he told The Mirror.

Professor Glees compared the current situation in the UK to 1937, the pre-war years before the outbreak of another war.

This follows previous comments made by Sir Patrick back in 2022, when he said the UK was having a ‘1937 moment’ as the West came to grips with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

While Sir Patrick does not support conscription - which means forcing individuals to serve in the military - in the British army, he said he does believe there needs to be a "shift" in the mindset of regular Brits.

Sir Patrick wants regular Brits to 'think more like troops' in case an all-out war with Russia does break out.

Houthi Military Attacks Excercises In Yemen 2024
Houthi Military Attacks Excercises In Yemen 2024. Picture: Getty
BRITAIN-YEMEN-TRADE-CONFLICT-SHIPPING
BRITAIN-YEMEN-TRADE-CONFLICT-SHIPPING. Picture: Getty

He called for a Finnish-style 'citizen army', which would be made up of 500,000 people, including soldiers, reserves and eventually, volunteers and regular citizens.

Professor Glees continued: “I would see a 'limited conscription', a call-up of incentivised volunteers, as being very much on the cards if Putin is now thrown out of Ukraine.

“Obviously, if there were a wider European or world war, conscription would follow at once.

“Putin has repeatedly said he wants the post-1997 NATO states to be disarmed and brought back into the Russia orbit, re-creating the system of satellites that was the strategic policy of the USSR.

“There's not a snowball's chance in hell of Putin just going away.”

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