A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer supported maritime operations conducted by naval forces from the United Kingdom that resulted in the seizure of advanced weapons components during an interdiction in the Gulf of Oman, Feb. 25. Coordinated efforts among USS Gridley (DDG 101), HMS Montrose (F236) and combined air assets led to Royal Navy forces confiscating surface-to-air missiles and cruise-missile rocket engines that originated from Iran, according to a statement released by the United Kingdom, July 7. Small boats attempting to smuggle the weapons were intercepted by the Royal Navy in January and February. Gridley’s crew deployed an MH-60 Seahawk helicopter during the February interdiction to provide overwatch.
“We have a decades-long strategic relationship with the Royal Navy,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “Our continued collaboration on maritime interdictions in the Middle East reflects our extraordinary partnership and strong commitment to regional security and stability.”
The weapons were seized along routes historically used to traffic weapons unlawfully to Yemen. The direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of weapons to the Houthis in Yemen violates U.N. Security Council Resolution 2216 and international law. U.S. and UK naval forces regularly conduct regional maritime security operations to disrupt the transport of illicit cargo that can support terrorism and other unlawful activity. U.S. Navy warships operating in the Middle East seized nearly 9,000 illicit weapons in 2021. U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and United Kingdom Maritime Component Command are headquartered in Manama, Bahrain. The two commands regularly partner to foster regional maritime cooperation, safeguard key waterways and uphold international rules-based order.
The fourth USS Gridley (DDG-101) is the 51st Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy. Gridley is named after Captain Charles Gridley, Commander of Admiral George Dewey’s flagship USS Olympia, (Flag Captain) and recipient of Admiral Dewey’s famous command, “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley” in the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish–American War. The current HMS Montrose is the eighth of the sixteen-ship Type 23 or Duke class of frigates, of the Royal Navy, named after the Duke of Montrose. She was laid down in November 1989 by Yarrow Shipbuilders on the Clyde, and was launched on 31 July 1992 by Edith Rifkind (later Lady Rifkind), wife of (later Sir) Malcolm Rifkind, Secretary of State for Defence. She was commissioned into service in June 1994.