The Houthi boat that attacked and hit a Saudi frigate in the Red Sea on January 30th, previously described as a suicide boat, was in fact an unmanned, remote-controlled craft filled with explosives.
The US Navy’s senior officer in the Middle East, Vice-Admiral Kevin Donegan, commander of the Bahrain-based US Fifth Fleet and head of US Naval Forces Central Command, told Defense News in an interview that the attack on frigate Al Madinah appeared to be the first confirmed use of such a weapon.
Donegan said that such drone boats represented a wider threat than that posed by suicide boats
“There are certain terrorists that do things and they get martyrs to go and do it. But there are many others that don’t want to martyr themselves in making attacks like that and that’s pretty much where the Houthis are. So it makes that kind of weaponry, which would normally take someone suicidal to use, now able to be used by someone who’s not going to martyr themselves”, Donegan said, asserting that Iran most likely supplied the unmanned attack vessel, even if Iran did not build it.